re: MOOCs: Valuable Innovation Or Grand Diversion?
Glad to hear out of the traditional education one is able to string together words with "a-t-e" suffixes, but my online experience provided for the same interactive collaboration. Yes I missed the frat parties to build rapport within the brother/sisterhood, abuse small animals or emotionally challenged classmates, buying exams or papers written by someoneelse, but I honestly don't feel as others may that they were indispensible in the process. The online experience also included mandatory coursework with such highlights as manipulating (sorry, crafting) your resume for the best effect. Having experienced both, the only real difference is the social stigma (that undeclared fraternity) of brick and mortar degree holders which, perhaps out of envy and of having had to attend resident courses, attempt to degrade or stigmatize the quality of online coursework. The article even provides evidence of as much in the statement by the Stanford professor (hopefully Stanford is not planning profits from their online courses with this type of faculty support). I do agree that no single course can provide the benefit to the student which is obtained only through a series of study (oops, online provides this also).
So MOOCs are arguably as beneficial as singular in residence courses, but unless one can demonstrate it is part of a larger, accepted and structured program of study, the certificate of completion probably won't get you a cup of coffee and they will still be looked down upon by the traditional degree holders until gradually the percentages change and the MOOCs outnumber the brick and mortar. Finally, an opinion of the accreditation system having analyzed their criteria is that they are more directed to the business aspects of higher education and guaranteeing the financial viability of the institutions than providing quality of the individual academic courses. The only comparable model that comes to mind are the rating agencies in the financial world (S&P, Fitch, ) which are subsidized by the companies they rate and since 2008 the quality that provides is evident.