Why Some Colleges Are Saying No to MOOC Deals, at Least for Now

29 Apr

Stephen George, a biology professor at Amherst College, lobbied for it to stay out of edX. He embraces the idea of online teaching but says Amherst doesn’t need to join a group to do it.
[ Photo by: Frank Ward, Amherst College ]

By Steve Kolowich

Amherst College, known for its selectivity, is accustomed to sending rejection notices. But when the liberal-arts beacon this month turned down an invitation to join the exclusive partnership of colleges offering massive open online courses through edX, it nonetheless drew surprise from many corners of academe.

Colleges have clamored to be part of the high-profile consortiums run by edX, a Cambridge-based nonprofit, and Coursera, a Bay Area start-up—often with little input from faculty members. The pace of adoption has shocked even the founders of the MOOC platforms, who are veterans of a higher-education sector notorious for its tortoiselike reflexes.

But Amherst’s rejection of edX, decided by a faculty vote, could mark a new chapter for MOOCs—one in which colleges revert to their default modes of deliberations and caution. “I think we’re at the early stages of that honeymoon period coming to an end,” says Richard Garrett, vice president and principal analyst of the consulting company Eduventures.

[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: ]

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in MOOCs in the News



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