History of the Slave South With Stephanie McCurry

I certainly understand the concerns expressed by many regarding the impact of MOOCs on higher education. At the same time, for those people who are interested in furthering their understanding of American history, it is impossible for me not to see the value of spending some time online with a scholar of Stephanie McCurry’s caliber. The course begins in January 2014.

The issue seems to be how MOOCs are utilized and assessed within a college curriculum rather than the educational value of the course itself.

5 comments… add one

  • Jimmy Dick Oct 12, 2013

    One of the major problems with MOOCs is that the main arena for student interaction, the discussion forum, often has little to no input from the instructor. This is one of the prime learning points in any online course. As a student who has taken many online courses and as an instructor of them I can point out how vital these are in the learning process. In some cases you will have good students who take the ball and run with it, making this area a real joy and raising the learning level across the board. Other times you will find students doing the bare minimum if that.

    MOOCs have their uses, but they are not for most students. They are going to be good for those who are well disciplined with excellent study habits and need an absolute minimum of student/instructor interaction. I strenuously object to MOOCs being marketed to community colleges as a financial cost savings because the majority of community college students need more help than is available in a MOOC.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 12, 2013

      All in all good points, but I wonder whether much of what you have said re: student motivation holds for the traditional course as well. I also have a problem with these courses being used to save money, but than again I can also see how a successful course that generates income may benefit the academic life of a school.

    • London John Oct 13, 2013

      Are Lectures and Seminars not separate in US Universities? As I understand it MOOCs are lectures, and each would need to be followed up by seminars in groups of not more than a dozen. For normal in-house lectures the seminar leader/convenor would normally be a different faculty member from the lecturer. Isn’t that how it works?

  • Karen L. Cox Oct 12, 2013

    The income generated benefits those institutions and faculty involved. It may line the pockets of Ivy League institutions and faculty (where many MOOCS are being created), but it threatens faculty positions across the country wherever a university decides it can serve students through these courses rather than with faculty. It’s more than about protecting faculty positions, though, as the interpersonal exchanges that take place between student and instructor are also lost in MOOCs.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 12, 2013

      Thanks for chiming in, Karen. All good points. Are there any examples out there where, in your opinion, MOOCs are being used correctly?

Leave a Comment