The dangers of MOOCs

There’s already a lot written about Massive Open Online Courses – probably too much.

But here are two recent pieces that raise interesting ideas as to where this is all headed:


Law Schools and MOOCs are not a good fit if one sees law schools in the traditional sense of small elite schools in a university, defined by the difficulty of admission.  But given the very high number of law schools, an apparently shrinking job market, and the possibility of issues of student  recruitment for more regional law schools, MOOCs based on first year courses might be seen to be way of attracting students – particularly from overseas.

But as Petrigilieri argues:

the [MOOC] colonizer is a transactional view of education, centered on knowledge as a commodity, which displaces a relational view of education, centered on developing through relationships.

MOOCs appear inimical to the development of a sense of professional responsibility and the entry into a supportive community of learning.  They might however be important devices for empowering the community. Perry’s piece suggests such altruistic community empowerment might not be the future driven by the commercial interests behind MOOCs.

By Alex Steel

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One thought on “The dangers of MOOCs

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  1. If Petriglieri believes that universities are currently ‘developing knowledge through relationships’, I wonder how long it is since he has been in a first-year lecture hall (any degree course). A student is lucky if she manages a relationship with her tutor, let alone her lecturer. Even when the staff do not discourage a Socratic, relational style of learning, the system prevents it.

    Anyway, students around Australia are already effectively studying MOOCs via Open Universities Australia law degrees.

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