A little (academic) dream come true

About a month ago I wrote the post What if we change the role of “teachers as educators” to “teachers as incubators”? that encourages the use of systematic and reputable video tutorials by teachers. Well, edX is one step ahead of the game, by offering not only complete courses, but also certificates that are predicted to be accepted by colleges within the coming year.

Traditional online courses charge tuition, carry credit and limit enrollment to a few dozen to ensure interaction with instructors. The MOOCs (massive open online courses), on the other hand, offered by edX are free, credit-less and, well, massive.


Today is the day where I pick my classes for next semester. As a senior entering my second semester, I would love to take a class on computer science. Here’s the problem. In my second semester, the intro class is not offered, and the rest of the classes have prerequisites, so I am at a loss. Or am I?


“We reject about 98 percent of faculty who want to teach with us. Just because a person is the world’s most famous economist doesn’t mean they are the best person to teach the subject.” Dr. Stavens sees a day when MOOCs will disrupt how faculty are attracted, trained and paid, with the most popular “compensated like a TV actor or a movie actor.” He adds that “students will want to learn from whoever is the best teacher.”

“We desperately need crowdsourcing,” says Cathy N. Davidson, a Duke professor of English and interdisciplinary studies. “We need a MOOCE — massive open online course evaluation.”

Join the movement.