Monday, May 20, 2013

Is Higher Education Running AMOOC?

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “Is Higher Education Running AMOOC?” [Hake (2013)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: My discussion-list post “Evaluating the Effectiveness of College” at concerned the failure of U.S. higher education to emphasize student learning rather than the delivery of instruction [Barr and Tagg (1995)] at In response, a correspondent asked me “Is There Some Hope In Coursera’s Pedagogical Foundations?

Despite the serious cracks detected in all but one of Coursera’s five pedagogical foundation stones, I don’t think Coursera is necessarily doomed to pedagogic collapse. Instead I think there may actually be some hope IF its MOOCs are evaluated by measurement of pre-to-post-course student learning gains using Concept Inventories If the physics education reform effort is any guide, then (a) such assessment will demonstrate that MOOCs are actually MOORFAPs (Massive Open Online Repetitions of FAiled Pedagogy), and (b) there will be some incentive to transform MOOCs into MOOLOs (Massive Open Online Learning Opportunities).

But even if MOOCs fail to become MOOLOs there still may be some hope since, as Keith Devlin (2013) points out at, MOOCs have the potential to uncover individuals world-wide who have the talent to learn from MOORFAPs, in the same way that most current professional physicists were able to learn physics from FAPs (Failed Academic Pedagogy).

For those who may wish to dig deeper into the MOOC milieu I recommend Nathan Heller’s (2013) scholarly “LAPTOP U: Has the future of college moved online?” at (probably for a limited time).

To access the complete 39 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs:
Google Scholar:

There was a giant MOOC,
based on a little book,
When MOOC hype was trending torrid.
And when MOOCS were good,
They were very, very good,
But when they were bad they were horrid

Profs stood on their heads,
‘students’ watching from beds,
With nobody by for to hinder.
Peer-graded squalor,
plagiarized ‘’ in the holler,
And drummed all their palms against Winders.

Foundations heard the noise,
and thought it was the boys,
Playing Coursera and edX.
They funded and Ventured,
noncredit adventures,
While we all suffer the headX.
- Slightly reformatted version of Sherman Dorn's (2013) “The MOOC Poem”

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 20 May 2013.]
Dorn, S. 2013. “The MOOC Poem,” Inside Higher Ed, 11 March; online at, with apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “There was a little girl”

Hake, R.R. 2013. “Is Higher Education Running AMOOC?” online on the OPEN! Net-Gold archives at Post of 19 May 2013 18:47:06 -0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold.

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