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MOOC-Skeptical Provosts

19 Jun

By Ry Rivard

University of Minnesota Provost Karen Hanson is chairwoman of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which is questioning public universities’ reliance on ed tech companies to provide online education.

The provosts of Big 10 universities and the University of Chicago are in high-level talks to create an online education network across their campuses, which collectively enroll more than 500,000 students a year.

And these provosts from some of America’s top research universities have concluded that they – not corporate entrepreneurs and investors — must drive online education efforts.

The plans and concerns are outlined in a position paper that comes just as education technology companies, including Coursera and 2U, are working to expand or deepen their ties to universities, including universities in the Big 10-related group of provosts known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

The CIC provosts’ idea to develop a cross-campus network is prompted by an increase in technological capabilities they believe could improve learning, but their effort is also infused with skepticism regarding whether ed tech companies are creating desirable products for faculty and students.

The provosts’ paper directly challenges the hype about massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The provosts said the ability to offer a course to a large number of people “is not, in and of itself, a means for extending educational opportunity to millions of potential ‘students.’ ”

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/19/big-10-provosts-question-partnerships-ed-tech-companies ]

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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in MOOCs in the News

 

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