Dear Commons Community,
Daphne Koller, founder of Coursera, addressed the attendees at the Sloan-C International Conference yesterday. She gave a standard pitch for MOOCs as a transformative technology for education. She described how MOOCs use online technology to provide a real course experience to students, including video content, interactive exercises with meaningful feedback, using both auto-grading and peer-grading, and rich peer-to-peer interaction around the course materials. Her major theme was that MOOCs provide unprecedented access to education to millions of students around the world.
For me there were three telling responses to questions.
First, she commented that blended learning was likely to be the dominant modality for at least the next decade.
Second, students with remedial needs should be taught in traditional, face-to-courses where faculty can provide assistance beyond learning content.
Third, she was a bit vague in response to the pedagogical theory behind Coursera course development other than to say that staff meet every couple of weeks to discuss pedagogy. Either she was unaware of or did not want to expand on the programmed instruction model for MOOCs which has had a long history in this country going back to B.F. Skinner.
In general, she gave a fine presentation and stimulated audience thinking about her topic.