Massively Open Online Embarassment

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may be the way of the future, but they show every sign of disrupting my intricate bargain with humiliation. For ten years, I’ve managed to contain evidence of my incompetence to the small number of students who had the misfortune of wandering into my lecture hall. But online lectures on YouTube? Virtual office hours through FaceTime? Interactive tutorials through video conference? These can hardly be good news.

Case in point: my recent attempt to teach

“Universities need to innovate, but put down the sledgehammer”

Over on the Inside Agenda Blog, there is an excellent piece by Emmett Macfarlane, a professor at the University of Waterloo. In it, he explains that there is a need for universities to be innovative, but that the current proposals for change (such as MOOCs or teaching-only institutions) are not the panaceas they are made out to be. Moreover, the currently monologue around university reform ignores the great deal of innovation already occurring within our universities:

The biggest problem

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller

Coursera, or Socrates was not a Content Provider: The University of Toronto and Coursera Agreement

The Globe and Mail reported recently that the University of Toronto was the latest signatory to an agreement with Coursera, a Web-based educational content provider aiming to “give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few”. Created by two Stanford computer scientists, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera offers Internet users free access to academic material created by volunteer instructors from various public and Ivy League universities from the United