Harvard Facilitates Debate Over MOOCs


EdX is a nonprofit MOOC provider founded by Harvard and MIT

The MOOC Mania continues as recent statements made at American, Duke, and San Jose State Universities question the pedagogical values of massive open online courses. The following are a mix of praises and disproving remarks on MOOCs made at the Harvard forum:

“Everyone wants to produce it. Everyone wants to consume it,” said Frances X. Frei, a professor of service management at Harvard Business School. “Yet it’s rare.”

“There’s always a risk of failing,” said Dr. Frenk. “But I think the risk of standing still is greater.”

“I’m a passionate believer in the traditional lecture,” Ms. Roberts said. “Students won’t pay attention to a videotape of a lecture they watch on a computer in their dorm room.”

Teaching online is “enabling us to rethink what we do on our campus,” said Alan M. Garber, Harvard’s provost. And yet, he added, “in the world of the future, I don’t see the small seminar disappearing.”

As higher education seeks to change and adapt, it is important to preserve its best aspects, said Ms. Keohane, who is president emerita of Duke University and Wellesley College, and a visiting professor at Princeton. Even more vital, said Ms. Keohane, is that access to higher education be broadly preserved. The worry, she said, is that online education and MOOCs will be relegated to the “less fortunate,” while the top 5 percent of the population will have the opportunity to attend places like Harvard or Princeton.

Read the full article: Debate Over MOOCs Reaches Harvard by Dan Berrett at The Chronicle of Higher Education

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