Sunday, July 28, 2013

MOOCs Like Budget Airlines or Strip Mining

In "Clay Shirky Says MOOCs Will Matter, but Worries About Corporate Players" Jeffrey R. Young writes that on-line courses will be a boon for students and parents worried by high education fees (July 25, 2013, 2:24 pm). I expect that on-line courses, including MOOCs, will result in a disaggregation of fees, rather than a simple reduction. Budget airlines have a low ticket price, but then charge for extras which used to be included, such as baggage, blankets, drinks and food. The MOOC may be free, but then you pay if you want assessment, textbooks, or a human tutor.

As an example of this, I paid for two on-line courses at USQ, but at the end found I had to pay an extra fee to get a copy of my results. It had not occurred to me when I enrolled that my results were an optional extra.

MOOCs may also be seen as an efficient way for rich countries to pillage developing nations for their intellectual capital. MOOCs provide an efficient way to identify the brightest students to offer a scholarship to and extract them from developing nations, much as minerals are extracted.

ps: My MOOCs with Books Webinar is 17 September.

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