Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Recognizing the difference between what the big and small educational institutions offer

Posted 19 Sep 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education ‘Farm to Brain’: Locavore Education vs. MOOCs

What I really appreciate about this piece (full disclosure: it was written by my current Dean) is that it makes clear that the MOOC model is simply the extensification of the big research university model of education. It is no wonder that these educational institutions are offering massive online courses: they have been doling out didactic, anonymous education to mass audiences for decades. The big question is this:

Is the audience for this kind of education going to grow, and if it does will that audience be comprised of people turning away from local and personal educations?

As long as there are people who have the means to buy the local and personal education, I doubt what I do here at Pratt will go away. But the comparison to local food is also a bit disturbing, because it highlights what a privilege local and personal education is, and how inaccessible it is to most people. Do I think MOOCs provide the best education? Not at all! But MOOCs could — depending on how they are implemented — provide the most accessible education. Until we make the local and personal education more accessible to all, I cannot sit here in my small liberal arts bastion of privilege and smile all that smugly.

A Minor Post, Higher Education, Pratt Institute, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Teaching, Web

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