Follow the Mon(itization)

As MOOCs continue to dominate the current discussion about college and university teaching online, it’s important to remember that the technology companies that are driving much of the MOOC model are interested in making money–they are for profit companies, not non-profit educational institutions.  This does not make them inherently “bad,” of course, but it is a distinction that should never be far from out minds.  I think the most cogent critique of MOOC “gee-whizery” that I’ve yet seen is by Georgia Tech’s Ian Bogost (doubly interesting, given how into MOOCS Georgia Tech apparently is).  You can find his comment as the last entry in this online debate in the LA Review of Books:  http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1757.  Part II of the same debate is here: http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1761.

What I really like about both of Bogost’s comments above is how it reveals the way the intellectual property of faculty is likely to be “monitized” by these big companies, via MOOCs, in ways many faculty probably don’t yet even sense. And, yet, it’s hard to imagine that the technology companies haven’t already thought it through: after all–that’s their business.  Think about the way Facebook has monitized all your social relationships online, and it becomes easier to see….

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