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The attack on our higher education system — and why we should welcome it

02/02/2014

TED Blog

siemens_MOOCs

By George Siemens

In the past few years, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a lens used by educators, entrepreneurs, education reformers and venture capitalists to view the higher education system. They are now a proxy for our hopes and fears for education; how we speak of MOOCs increasingly says more about our personal philosophy than it does about open online courses.

In 2008, Stephen Downes and I offered the first MOOC — a course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. Our intent was to create a learning experience that embodied the attributes of the Internet: open, accessible, networked, distributed and participative. The 2,300 learners who joined our course are now a rounding error in comparison to the large offerings of providers such as edX and Coursera. Yet our original vision continues to shape our research and teaching practices: networking individual learners to foster knowledge creation. It remains my firm…

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