Thursday, December 26, 2013

MOOCs and analogies

Matt Yglesias has a very nice post pointing out the issues of over-hyping MOOCs as a way to transform education.  He points out that TV watching of sports hasn't reduced demand for live attendance of sporting events:
At any rate, it would be dumb to assume or assert that the ability to watch education videos online will have the exact same relationship to live instruction that television has to live sports. The analogy is instructive simply because it's difficult to summarize all the ways that TV broadcasts have changed sports. In some ways, access is broader and more egalitarian than ever. In other ways, access is narrower and more exclusionary than ever. In some ways you see substitution. In other ways you see complentarity. It's complicated.
 This isn't a unique insight (I heard Mark Palko talk at length about how VCRs did not disrupt classroom teaching in any important way).  But it is important to remember that the potential to disrupt is not the same as actual disruption.  Nor may the interplay between live and broadcast media be simple and straightforward. 

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