Coursera, Chegg, and the Education Enclosure Movement

08 May

by Audrey Watters

The online learning startup Coursera and a handful of textbook publishers announced today that they’re teaming up to make certain digital course materials available to students enrolled in Coursera’s classes. Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education, Oxford University Press, SAGE, and Wiley will offer versions of their textbooks via an e-reader provided by Chegg.

For certain courses, students will be able to access all or parts of textbooks for free. The materials are restricted by DRM: students will not be able to copy-paste or print, and access to the textbooks will be revoked when the course ends. As the press release reads, of course, “students will also be able to purchase full versions of e-textbooks provided by publishers for continued personal learning.”

The partnership aims to encourage professors to assign more reading in their Coursera courses. As it currently stands, many only recommend rather than require course readings. (The emphasis instead is on video lectures.) A survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education of professors who’ve taught MOOCs found that just 9% asked their students to buy a physical book and 5% asked that an e-book be purchased — and it seems likely that the lack of course readings contribute to those respondents’ reluctance to have these online classes actually count for formal credit.

[ Full article available at Hack Education: ]

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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in MOOCs in the News


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