MOOC Professors Claim No Responsibility for How Courses Are Used!

Dear Commons Community,

The debate over MOOCs continues.  The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article referencing the ethical issues MOOC professors might have if their courses are used “to dismantle academic departments”.   On one side, there is a group of philosophy professors at San Jose State University who last month slammed Michael Sandel, a government professor at Harvard, for offering a MOOC through another provider, the nonprofit edX. The administration at San Jose State is encouraging its faculty members to use edX courses in their own teaching.  In an open letter, the philosophy professors warned that such collaboration could mark beginning of a long-term effort to “replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.”

In response, the article quotes Mohamed A. Noor, a professor of biology at Duke University, who teaches a MOOC through Coursera, called  Introduction to Genetics and Evolution. To be clear, Mr. Noor says he believes dismantling departments and replacing them with MOOCs would be “reckless.” But the Duke professor also believes that, in such a case, “the fault lies with the reckless administration,” and not the professor who furnished the MOOC to the vendor that furnished the MOOC to the administration.

The article has several other references well-worth reading for those interested in keeping up with MOOC issues.



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