I have now officially completed my first MOOC. It was Internet History, Technology and Security, taught by Dr. Chuck Severance of the University of Michigan. Dr Chuck is a great teacher and I enjoyed the course and learned a lot.Still, I don’t think that MOOCs are going to replace undergraduate education any time soon.
Dr. Chuck designed this course as an “entry level” computer course for undergraduates, but most of my fellow students already had BAs and many of us had Master’s Degrees in subjects relating to the material. This gave us two advantages. First, most of us had a fairly robust context in which to place new information and second, we had already developed the habits and ways of thinking that are acquired over the course of earning a university degree.
The other thing is that to do well in the course, I had only to learn the material, not manipulate it. Thinking critically was not necessary, and there was no programming and no math. So not having Dr. Chuck’s personal attention was not a problem because I never needed it.