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Essay critiques the ideas of Clay Shirky and others advocating higher ed disruption

Essay critiques the ideas of Clay Shirky and others advocating higher ed disruption
Clay Shirky is a big thinker, and I read him because he’s consistently worth reading. But he’s not always right – and his thinking (and the flaws in it) is typical of the unquestioning enthusiasm of many thinkers today about technology and higher education. In his recent piece on "Napster, Udacity, and the Academy," for example, Shirky is not only guardedly optimistic about the ways that MOOCs and online education will transform higher education, but he takes for granted that they will, that there is no alternative. Just as inevitably as digital sharing turned the music industry on its head, he pronounces, so it is and will be with digital teaching. And as predictably as rain, he anticipates that "we" in academe will stick our heads in the sand, will deny the inevitable -- as the music industry did with Napster -- and will "screw this up as badly as the music people did." His views are shared by many in the "disruption" school of thought about higher education. Related:  media about

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Fraunhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack. The result was the Motion Picture Experts Group Format 1, Audio Layer III, a format you know and love, though only by its acronym, MP3. The recording industry concluded this new audio format would be no threat, because quality mattered most. If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? The story the recording industry used to tell us went something like this: “Hey kids, Alanis Morisette just recorded three kickin’ songs! The people in the music industry weren’t stupid, of course. We have several advantages over the recording industry, of course. But you know what?

Essay on how MOOCs raise questions about the definition of student Clay Shirky and Jay Rosen have popularized the phrase “People Formerly Known as the Audience” to describe the evolution of contemporary media consumers from mere listeners or viewers into interactive and demanding participants. A similar redefinition of roles is emerging in conversations about the consumers of massive open online courses. With a student-faculty ratio of, in some cases, 150,000: 1, the teacher of a MOOC may well struggle to define his or her relationship to an audience of course-takers who do and do not resemble traditional "students." In a recent Twitter exchange, media scholars Siva Vaidhyathan and Cathy Davidson debated the question of whether people enrolled in a MOOC are accurately described as “students.” @CathyNDavidson asked, "Are they really all 'students' or merely 'registrants'?" Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy themselves consistently refer to their participants as "students." Some promising models for non-instructor-based interaction are emerging.

IHE: How open are MOOC's ? DENVER — MOOCs are on the tip of everyone’s tongue here at the annual Educause meeting, presumably because of their scale and the technologies their recent champions have built to support that scale. But in his opening keynote, Clay Shirky, an author and assistant professor at New York University, said the most provocative aspect of MOOCs is not their massiveness; it is their openness. Or, in some cases, their lack thereof. Shirky’s framing of MOOCs as a phenomenon of the open educational resources (OER) movement -- rather than of the online education or instructional technology movements -- comes shortly after Coursera struck a content licensing deal with Antioch University that drew a line on the extent to which the company would allow outsiders to use its resources without paying to do so. The missing piece is a caveat in Coursera’s terms of service that prohibits the use of Coursera’s MOOCs for anything but informal education. So are MOOCs, and the content packaged therein, OER?

Online courses need human element to educate Online courses are proliferating, says Douglas Rushkoff, but will really succeed when they bring humanity to learning process Douglas Rushkoff: Education is under threat, but online computer courses are not to blameHe says education's value hard to measure; is it for making money or being engaged?He says Massive Open Online Courses lack human exchange with teachersRushkoff: MOOCs should bring together people to share studies, maintain education's humanity Editor's note: Douglas Rushkoff writes a regular column for CNN.com. (CNN) -- Education is under threat, but the Internet and the growth of Massive Open Online Courses are not to blame. Like the arts and journalism, whose value may be difficult to measure in dollars, higher education has long been understood as a rather "soft" pursuit. What is learning, really? Douglas Rushkoff Education is about more than acquiring skills. What we consider basic knowledge has grown to include science, history, the humanities and economics.

The Ecologies of Yearning #opened12 (with image, tweets) · audreywatters Ecology of ideas -- Bateson Bateson's Hierarchy of Learning Zero learning: "receipt of signal." No error possible Learning 1: "change in specificity of response by correction of errors of choice within a set of alternatives." Learning 2: learning to learn; premises are self-validating (trap at this moment because of this) Learning 3: meta-contextual perspective; puts self at risk; questions become explosive; this is not just adaptation, habitation -- strategies where you can choose to adapt or not; this is where we become most human, says Bateson. Learning 4: "probably does not occur in any adult living organisms on this earth" The hierarchy is discontinuous communication can be magically modified by communication there's something about a double bind that is a prison and the way out "transcontextual syndrome" beyond access and cost not merely open education but opening the possibility for networked transcontextualism. Don't fake the double-take The global open access brothel of non-learning

Why Things Matter The Virtual Revolution Doug Rushkoff on 'free' Open online courses – an avalanche that might just get stopped These days there are plenty of prophets preaching hi-tech and digital solutions to the problems of expanding access to knowledge and higher education. Barely a week goes by without some new hymn to education technology, open-source software or open-access publishing. In the US, the growing chorus for online education through massive open online courses, or moocs, has been deafening. But in Britain, it has barely registered. Last December, the commercial launch of the Open University's mooc platform, FutureLearn, attracted the participation of a dozen universities and the support of David Willetts, but little response from Britain's beleaguered academics. No wonder that last month Sir Michael Barber, the chief education adviser of Pearson, the world's largest profit-making education provider, proclaimed that universities were powerless to stop the online avalanche. Historically, the University of California has often proved a weathervane for global trends in higher education.

Openness, the double bind, and ecologies of yearning. » EdTech@VCCS I’ve seen my share of conference keynotes, some tedious, some exhilarating, many forgettable. But I have never seen a keynote quite like the one delivered by Gardner Campbell on the morning of the first day of the OpenEd Conference. In fact, calling it a keynote is a disservice. For me, Gardner’s remarks, titled Ecologies of Yearning and the Future of Open Education, articulated the sense of vague discomfort I currently feel regarding the mainstream adoption of open learning. What we are seeing are developments in the higher education landscape that appear to meet every single one of the criteria we have set forth for open education: increased access, decreased cost, things that will allow more people than ever, on a planetary scale–1 billion individual learners at a time customize their education, fit it into their busy lives, earn a paycheck, find a path to a glorious vocational future. He answers quoting T.S. I hope you’ll take some time to watch the recording. Like this:

Elite education for the masses They included Patrycja Jablonska in Poland, Ephraim Baron in California, Mohammad Hijazi in Lebanon and many others far from Baltimore who ordinarily would not have a chance to study at the elite Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They logged on to a Web site called Coursera and signed up. They paid nothing for it. These students, a sliver of the more than 1.7 million who have registered with Coursera since April, reflect a surge of interest this year in free online learning that could reshape higher education. The phenomenon puts big issues on the table: the growth of tuition, the role of a professor, the definition of a student, the value of a degree and even the mission of universities. “Massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, have caught fire in academia. “I can’t use another word than unbelievable,” Caffo said. For universities, the word for it is revolutionary. MOOC students, for the most part, aren’t earning credit toward degrees. But it is alluring. Giving it away

"The key difference between academics and venture capitalists, in fact, is not closed versus open but evidence versus speculation. " by notpicnic Dec 6

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