From Clay Shirky’s blog:

“The fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it. The most widely told story about college focuses obsessively on elite schools and answers a crazy mix of questions: How will we teach complex thinking and skills? How will we turn adolescents into well-rounded members of the middle class? Who will certify that education is taking place? How will we instill reverence for Virgil? Who will subsidize the professor’s work?”

“That’s because in the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs. If this happens, Harvard will be fine. Yale will be fine, and Stanford, and Swarthmore, and Duke. But Bridgerland Applied Technology College? Maybe not fine. University of Arkansas at Little Rock? Maybe not fine. And Kaplan College, a more reliable producer of debt than education? Definitely not fine.

Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Fraunhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack.

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  • “The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled.”

    “The top 50 colleges on the US News and World Report list…only educate something like 3% of the current student population. The entire list, about 250 colleges, educates fewer than 25%.”

    Are MOOCs the future low cost alternative that will threaten the viability of those institutions that educate the remaining 75%?

    For a twist to this puzzle, check out to get a sense of other initiatives designed to frustrate the status quo.

    Interesting times!

  • Anya

    I found a really interesting online course. It’s called “ThinkTank – Ideal City of the 21st Century”. It’s led by architect Daniel Libeskind and participants will built their ideal city in teams. Sounds great. Check out this video

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