Sunday, February 17, 2013

False Promises- MOOCS. There is no democracy here

 This is an  initial analysis of some of the issues in Massive-on line education  MOOC as advocated by Jerry Brown in place of adequately funding higher education.
Geoff Shullenberger
"In the MOOC philosophy, education is understood fundamentally as a transfer of information, in line with the computational understanding of cognition in which the mind is a processing device being fed input and generating output. This is a twenty-first-century version of what Paulo Freire called the “banking method of education,” a model that Deweyan humanists and practitioners of critical pedagogy have long repudiated as reactionary and disempowering.
Open Online Courses (MOOCs) they offer. The New York Times education section dubbed 2012 “The Year of the MOOC,” and the paper’s celebrity columnists Thomas Friedman and David Brooks have been hailing MOOCs as a “revolution” and a “tsunami.” Time announced in a cover article on MOOCs that “College is Dead. Long Live College!” and USA Today assured us somewhat less hyperbolically that “college may never be the same.”

Editor’s note. I am an ardent advocate of the use of technology in promoting quality education, but that is not the same as MOOCs.   To examine the differences I took one of the MOOCs courses from Stanford.  It was clearly pre collegiate in nature.
In my own professional life and in my book, Choosing Democracy, I argue for both critical thinking and the development of strong democracy.  MOOCs courses promote neither.  They are best suited to a very fixed nature of learning, usually able to behaviorize  such as math or other sequential learning.

See also the NYTimes editorial on this development.

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