Here a MOOC, there a MOOC: Coursera Goes Big

Here a MOOC, there a MOOC: Coursera Goes Big

In a previous post, we linked to this item from the Boston Globe, which noted that a number of high-profile higher ed institutions were hopping on board the edX bandwagon. And now the story’s getting bigger; not only moving from local to national (hi, HuffPo), but looping in the online education company, Coursera.
This Huffington Post piece points out that 10 large public university systems, including the giant state systems of New York, Tennessee, Colorado and the University of Houston, will be incorporating Coursera materials and platforms into their curricula:coursera_logo_RGB
The announcement… shows the extent to which, for cash-strapped university leaders and policymakers, the MOOCs and the platforms they are built on offer an irresistible promise of doing more with less…
 
“It’s been a challenge in reduced financial capacity to offer all the courses all the time that every student needs to complete a degree,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.
NU’s Peter Stokes offers a contrasting perspective on the potential for schools to be forced into accepting credits from online ed courses:
It almost seems to promote the notion that there is this no-cost alternative for higher education… It feeds into the fear that many public institutions have that the political solution to higher education is to continue to divest.
MOOCs have been rising in their relevance and prominence of late, in terms of the changing course of contemporary higher ed; regular Aspire readers may remember this post, for example, which focuses on the ways in which emerging and existing technologies are supporting the expansion (and the implicit legitimacy) of online education. And, of course, the San Jose push-back, while not a total surprise, did reveal the skepticism some educators still feel in regards to the concept in theory and/or its practical execution.
Is there a middle ground—and if so, where do you see it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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