Reflecting on the original “Big Idea” for MOOCs

By | March 14, 2018

In an guest post for Inside Higher Ed, James DeVaney, associate vice provost for academic innovation, writes that the real innovation of the MOOC (massive online open courses) era is not the unbundling of academic degrees that first captured massive attention, but rather the re-bundling that results from serious academic R&D—the creation of new communities and credentials for all levels. “MOOCs are far from dead. Rather, they appear to hatch derivatives,” DeVaney writes, referring to U-M’s recent announcement about offering online degrees through Coursera. “U-M seeks to address global problems in pursuit of a more equitable world. If we can agree that global problems do not fall neatly into the academic disciplines, it should follow that the increasingly diverse needs of learners would be difficult to address through a set of unmalleable academic offerings. If we are serious about diversity, we need to be equally serious about inclusivity as we design new programs, and laying a foundation for learners with vastly different starting points, learning styles, and learning objectives.”