So pardon me if I’m less than impressed by Koller’s new-found defense of face-to-face interaction between professors and students. Say what you will about Sebastian Thrun. At least his company will soon only be shortchanging customers who won’t be wiped out by the experience.
It’s all about what Rees calls, after George W. Bush (!), “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” MOOCS have failed to show that they educate much of anyone, even people who already have university degrees. They’ve failed in the face of their low standards and their budget pricing (even free is too much to pay for most students).
So is it even that they’re free and require no work they have failed, or is it because they require absolutely zero commitment or resources by the students that they’ve failed? People know the value of something they can get for nothing, and it’s so close to nothing that they can’t even be bothered to show up for the canned lectures.
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