In the past several years, MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) have drawn a great deal of attention. They have been hailed as the salvation of higher education in the face of challenges surrounding affordability, budget shortfalls, and access. They also have been critiqued as yet another in a long chain of under-informed approaches to these complex problems. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the vociferous debate (as do the comments that follow). However, in all of this debate one point of clarity continually emerges: MOOCs are neither good nor bad; they and other educational technology and alternative learning environments are tools. The central question has to be how we use them in support of each institution’s specific mission.
The Question of Access
As I noted in a...