MOOCs and Economic Reality

08 Jul

By Clay Shirky

In “We’re All to Blame for MOOCs,” Patrick J. Deneen proposes a transformation away from global universities and toward identity-driven colleges as a defense against the coming shakeup from novel forms of online education. While developing this theme, he quotes me on the rise of MOOCs, and imagines this makes me an opponent of his views.

Yet as I read along, I found myself nodding in agreement. MOOCs as a continuation of existing trends? Check. Most faculty members unprepared to argue against the logic of scale? Check. Universities as globalizing institutions, organized around disciplines? Check and check. It’s impossible to understand what’s happening with MOOCs without understanding what’s happened to higher education in general.

Deneen’s characterization of my views on MOOCs is mostly correct, but he ascribes to me one belief I do not hold. He writes “Our contemporary educational Filene’s, according to Shirky, must get big or get out.” I have never said that of higher education, nor would I. My core belief instead is this: Institutions that don’t keep expenses below revenues eventually collapse.

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

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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed



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