Why are universities still here?

I have a Paper.li curated newspaper on MOOCs (see left panel of this blog). 

This evening I read an interesting post that appeared in MOOC Digest Daily titled Why is the university still here from a  Techcrunch article.

It mentioned that Silicon Valley has been on a mission to disrupt the conventional university for years and MOOCs are an aspect of that attempt.


I found one stat’ very interesting. That was the high right of non completion of courses. 

I’m sort of surprised that this seems, well, like a surprise. Well it probably does if you see higher education as merely the absorbtion of subject knowledge; it probably does if you think that higher education can be achieved merely through technical interfaces and it probably does if you see higher education as a consumer service rather than a rite of passage.

What might the low completion rates signify?  Possibly that people fall in love with the idea of knowing stuff but dislike the experience of effortfully studying it. 

It might also indicate that as a taster of  a subject the topic might initially appeal and the substance after all does not. In which case the MOOC has done its job. 

I would also suggest that it’s slightly mistaken to think that because the university has been around for a while its past its sell buy date and it’s time to get rid of it. This assumes that universities are as fusty and unchanging as Gormengast. Not really the case even though there are some quirky traditions.,

Wonder if a better question might be ‘why are MOOCs still here’?

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