On her Inside Higher Education blog, Hack (Higher) Education, Audrey Watters takes up the question of how MOOCs are impacting OpenCourseWare.
It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, of course. It’s not necessarily a matter of MIT Open Courseware or MOOCs winning the future of education. (It’s worth pointing out, perhaps, that within the institution of MIT, MIT OCW and MITx (now edX) have always been separate initiatives.) But then too, this is not just a matter for MIT, whose open education practices are well established — over a decade old.
For other institutions, this might appear to be a choice: either open education or MOOCs. That’s part of the concern that (NITLE’s) Bryan Alexander articulates when he says that “All of the issues around creating or using OER, of getting faculty towards supporting open access, of implementing inter-institutional open source software communities – all collapse before the MOOC.” Rather than pursue policies and practices that would lead to establishing open access, open educational resources, open source, many administrators simply want to pursue MOOCs.
For MIT Open Courseware, the pursuit of MOOCs — by MIT and by higher education at large — seems to have boosted usage. That’s the response by MIT Open Courseware’s spokesperson Steve Carson to [Matthew] Rascoff’s tweet, at least. The site has seen “record levels of traffic” since the MOOC craze began: 22.3 million visitors in 2012, up 25% over 2011. Read more.
For the record, at present MIT OpenCourseWare and MITx are now both part of MIT’s Office of Digital Learning, and the two programs are collaborating in a number of areas. edX is a separate organization, developing the platform on which MITx, HarvardX, and other X university MOOCs are offered. The web of shifting organizational relationships is a reflection of the complexity of the issues institutions like MIT are grappling with.
Check out more thoughtful commentary on open education at Audrey Watters’ personal blog, Hack Education.