Learned Luddites (Economist)

MIT Director of Digital Learning Sanjay Sarma is quoted describing MOOCs as a “force multiplier” near the end of this Economist piece on MOOCs:

Learned Luddites

SOME people hope that the internet will revolutionise higher education, making it cheaper and more accessible to the masses. Others fear the prospect. Some academics worry that they will be sacked and replaced by videos of their more photogenic colleagues. Others argue that MOOCs (massive open online courses) are nowhere near as good as a class taught face-to-face.

Academics are over-reacting, argues Jack Wilson, the president emeritus of the University of Massachusetts. MOOCs are an interactive textbook, he says. Not every professor writes a textbook, but all can use them. Pre-recorded lectures and multiple-choice questions can lighten the load on lecturers. Sanjay Sarma, the director of digital learning at MIT, describes them as a “force multiplier”. Professors will eventually get used to them. But first, says Mr Wilson, they must “get over the fear factor”.

Read the full article.

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