MOOCs: Hope and Hype in Viral Technologies and Policies

Maureen W. McClure


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have emerged in the last couple of years as Internet-based vehicles providinglow cost global access to quality education. They come in two basic forms: expert and self-organizing. Thedominant expert model provides access to expertise through centralized software platforms with expert-designedshort lecture videos, free online reading materials, discussion forums and a strong emphasis on measurable assessments.Self-organizing models focus on problems that may be too new for well-developed expertise, but are tooimportant to ignore. Their rapid (viral) growth has resulted in related “viral policies” created by administrators andothers who feel under competitive pressure to act quickly. MOOC interest is growing in many countries, openingnew opportunities for international education partnerships. Backlashes have taken the form of: (a) unresolvedproblems with course perseverance, (b) assessment procedures to reduce cheating and improve peer review, and (c)faculty resistance to viral governance. While low course completion rates remains problematic, rapidly developingtechnologies and competitive networks are likely to influence higher education institutional policy for some timeto come.

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Copyright (c) 2014 Maureen W. McClure

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