An odd fact of MOOC mania is that it has barely touched one prominent sector of higher education: the nearly 250 Roman Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. So far, only Georgetown University has forged a partnership with one of the three major companies offering platforms for massive open online courses—Coursera, edX, and Udacity.
I don’t know why there aren’t more Catholic MOOCs. Many Catholic universities are just as prestigious as other colleges offering the online courses. Moreover, Catholic universities presumably want the same things that their secular counterparts hope that MOOCs can provide: greater brand recognition, a showcase for innovative faculty, and the chance to recruit from a bigger pool of students.
But I do know that by banding together in a principled stand against producing MOOCs or offering students credit for completing them, Catholic universities can be true leaders in higher education. Instead of following the hype, they can reassert the belief that education is a moral enterprise that develops human dignity and promotes social justice.
MOOCs not only fail to accomplish those goals; they undermine them. And if large Catholic universities pursued strategic aims through MOOCs, they could end up pushing smaller Catholic colleges, including ones sponsored by the same religious orders, out of business, weakening Catholic higher education as a whole.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/A-Catholic-Case-Against-MOOCs/141611/ ]