Sebastian Thrun threw a wrench in the MOOC model by declaring that massive open online courses don’t work for higher education. What’s next for the online learning trend?
By John K. Waters
It was about a year ago that the idea of using the Web to provide open-access, online learning at scale was thrust into the international spotlight. In November 2012, the New York Times christened “The Year of the MOOC,” and a concept that had been percolating relatively quietly in academia quickly became The Next Big Thing.
Now a founder of one of the leading for-profit MOOC providers says massive open online courses aren’t working in higher education. In a recently published Fast Company interview, Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of Udacity and one of the most-often quoted champions of the MOOC model, said that his company has “a lousy product” and revealed that he’s planning to shift his enterprise’s focus from higher education to corporate training.
Thrun, a Google Fellow and pioneer of the self-driving car, has a high profile in the MOOC world, so his comments provoked widespread reaction — everything from gleeful I-told-you-sos and barbed comments about his company’s “Silicon Valley blindness” to existing learning research, to pointed criticisms of Udacity’s business plan and Thrun’s hyperbolic branding and buildup of unrealistic expectations about an online education delivery model that is still evolving.
[ Full article available on Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2013/12/11/what-will-happen-to-moocs-now-that-udacity-is-leaving-higher-ed.aspx ]