The Next Problem for MOOCs Starts With a Rap Genius Intern

26 Feb

Photo of Mahbod Moghadam of Rap Genius on May 1, 2013 in New York

Mahbod Moghadam of Rap Genius on May 1, 2013 in New York
[ Photograph by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch ]

By Patrick Clark

If you’re accepted to Harvard Business School, you can look forward to learning alongside the eggheads and overachievers deemed worthy by the school’s admissions office. HBS has also launched a massively open online course, or MOOC, as have other heavyweight MBA programs. If you enroll in an HBS MOOC, you can look forward to learning alongside … exactly whom?

Last month, a Harvard Divinity School professor named Laura Nasrallah led a course called “Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul” on EdX, which offers MOOCs from Harvard, MIT, and other prestigious universities. “I didn’t know who was going to show up for the course—if I’d have high school students, or septuagenarians, or people working with technology for the first time,” she says. To serve the greatest number of the 20,000-plus students who registered for the course, Nasrallah offered students several ways to comment on reading material, including an EdX website, a Facebook group, and the website Poetry Genius.

Poetry Genius, for the unfamiliar, is part of the website Rap Genius, which publishes song lyrics and invites the public to comment on their meaning. The company has raised millions in venture capital and enticed rap artists, including Nas, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar, to create accounts. It has also attracted attention to the antics of co-founder Mahbod Moghadam, who has made a habit of publicly insulting chief executive officers and glorifying drug use.

[ Full article available at ]

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in MOOCs in the News


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