Could professors' resistance derail online-learning?

Monday, July 1, 2013

The San Jose State philosophy professors who recently spoke out against the school's embrace of a video version of a social justice class were right to worry about the boom in online learning and how it might harm their life's mission and their students' education.

After all, philosophy is all about raising the right questions and exploring the answers. And in fact, there is a rising buzz of professorial protest over what are broadly known by the moniker MOOCs, or massive open online courses.

Educators at Amherst and Duke have come out against the courses on their campuses. And some Harvard instructors have called for a committee (Harvard loves committees) to explore the school's participation with edX, a nonprofit online course producer and the company that provided the Harvard course that set off the SJSU professors.

But it would be a shame if the well-meaning professors' concerns derailed a movement toward wider use of online courses across the country.

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