Three years ago, Adam Falk assured us that all those fancy MOOCs (massive open on-line courses) had no future at Williams.

Technology has and will continue to improve how we teach. But what it cannot do is remove human beings from the equation. Coursera, one of the new purveyors of massive, open online courses, proposes to crowd-source the grading of essays, as if averaging letter grades assigned by five random peers were the educational equivalent of a highly trained professor providing thoughtful evaluation and detailed response. To pretend that this is so is to deny the most significant purposes of education, and to forfeit its true value.

But what about this news?

HBX, Harvard Business School’s online digital education initiative, has announced that it has entered into agreements to work with several U.S. liberal arts colleges to provide additional benefits for their students taking the Credential of Readiness (CORe) program.

CORe is an online program, consisting of approximately 150 hours of learning, for students and early career professionals to learn the fundamentals of business on a highly engaging and interactive platform designed by Harvard Business School faculty, according to Harvard Business School.

One of the schools listed in Williams. Anyone have any further details? Comments:

1) You can be sure that any grading here will not be done by Harvard professors. It will be a mix of computer and peer-graded work. Does Falk object?

2) I am probably being unfair to Falk because I suspect that this program is merely an additional option for Williams students, not a replacement for their current coursework. That is, any William student who participates in CORe will still need to take 32 Williams classes for credit.

3) If you don’t think that MOOCs are the future of education, you aren’t paying attention.

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