I recently tweeted about an article I heard about from The Guardian (newspaper) higher education twitter feed: @GdnHigherEd: “Could online courses be the death of the humanities?” by Aurélien Mondon and Gerhard Hoffstaedter, co-founders of Melbourne Free University. I want to discuss that article briefly, and then give some thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of scale in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).
In the article noted above, Mondon and Hoffstaedter are commenting on a previous article, “Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university?,” by Carole Cadwalladr, in The Observer. There, Cadwalladr discusses how open education, and free online courses, could have an impact on traditional university education. Why pay thousands of dollars when you can get the same content taught by the same professors for free? Of course, you don’t get degrees or credit (yet), but for those who just want to learn something, MOOCs are likely a better option than signing up for a face-to-face class that you have to pay for.
In their response to this article, Mondon and Hoffstaedter suggest that the expansion of MOOCs could spell the death of humanities, specifically.