Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
The rise of massive open online courses
Nicholas Carr wrote an excellent, balanced article on the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs1) like Coursera and Udacity, and the complex data mining required to make it work. From The Crisis in Higher Education:
The advances in tutoring programs promise to help many college, high-school, and even elementary students master basic concepts. One-on-one instruction has long been known to provide substantial educational benefits, but its high cost has constrained its use, particularly in public schools. It’s likely that if computers are used in place of teachers, many more students will be able to enjoy the benefits of tutoring. According to one recent study of undergraduates taking statistics courses at public universities, the latest of the online tutoring systems seem to produce roughly the same results as face-to- face instruction.
This is some really in-depth reporting, and it’s not all sunshine and roses. Nicholas went out of his way to seek out and report on legitimate counterarguments to this movement as well.
Yes, really. ↩