Monday, August 13, 2012

Patterson and Tocqueville on Higher Ed

If I've got the gist of it, this article is essentially explaining why MOOCs are not going to revolutionize higher education.   The university is and will continue to be essentially an artistocratic institution that was kind of saved from extinction by the development of professional schools (over the last 100 years) that balanced the American desire for practicality with the impractical liberal arts education offered by universities.  Patterson says that the on-line courses will just add another component to what a university can be much as distance learning did:
Professional schools succeeded with distance learning because of high student motivation.  Law enforcement and continuing education succeeded, when it succeeded, because of the high accessibility and low intensity of the coursework. In either case, the courses added another purpose to the university in America rather than replace the university altogether. Online education will do the same. Universities will offer online courses, MOOCs and more conventional varieties. They will serve the existing purpose of marketing the university "brand" as tech-savvy, relevant, and engaged in student learning.

  This is by no means a summary of the article, so have a look for yourself!


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