Online universities - food for thought or an intellectual malnutrition epidemic?
Massive open online courses will disrupt higher education by putting unprecedented pressure on universities, both financially and in terms of quality (or the lack thereof). But without a clear goal for the purpose of higher education, that disruption is bound to leave a pile of educational rubble, and us none the wiser.
“I propose to create the ‘five minute university’. In five minutes, you can learn what the average college graduate remembers five years after.” (Guido Sarducci) For optimists, the web is about to massively change higher education for the better. Trends such as free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the Inverted Classroom Model (ICM) have become widely popular last year and funded with hundreds of millions of dollars (Udacity, Coursera, edX). Technology could change education for the better. Then again, Thomas Edison already thought this a century ago and not much happened. So what will happen this time? A learning Nirvana with everyone being able to receive 1:1 lessons from a digitized ivy league luminary? A McDonaldization of rationally optimized and franchised lessons, sponsored by corporations? Or just more of the same old stuff? This talk is an inside report by two instructors who have taken part in the beginning of the online education revolution by teaching large audiences online. Now, a year after, we will paint the landscape of future scenarios and share actionable ideas on how to ensure that higher education online will be more than “the worst of today, for everyone”.