By Ry Rivard
Some faculty leaders were surprised this week when state systems and flagship universities in nine states announced a series of new business partnerships with Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based ed tech company.
The universities plan to work with Coursera, a provider of massive open online courses, to try out a variety of new teaching methods and business models, including MOOCs and things that are not MOOCs. Administrators and the company hailed the effort as new way to improve education. Some administrators said the faculty were involved or were part of the effort and the contracts themselves make clear faculty have some decision-making authority.
But some faculty leaders were nevertheless caught off-guard by the deals that were widely reported Thursday in national and local media. Some faculty accused Coursera and the state-funded universities of working together to experiment on students.
On the other end of the spectrum, some faculty had talked beforehand with administrators about the deal and were cautiously optimistic the arrangements could create new opportunities for students. Still, even they warned, there were lines both the company and the universities should not cross without further faculty involvement.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/31/amid-coordinated-effort-transform-higher-ed-coursera-some-faculty-remained-dark ]