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Cage Match: The Massive Open Online Course Debate

The 100,000-student Stanford courses in the Fall of 2011 blew the doors off any preconceived notions of how we might approach on-line education. Soon, Udacity and Coursera were founded as startups. Coursera has quickly added top-name universities as partners. Will these new efforts profoundly improve education or be a meteor that makes higher-ed dinosaurs extinct? Chuck Severance (“The man with the open source tattoo”) is a Coursera Instructor at the University of Michigan School of Information and Open Source LMS guru. His counterpart in this session is Curt Bonk (“The Travelin' Ed Man”) an Indiana University Professor who taught the first MOOC on Blackboard's CourseSites and authored "The World is Open." Chuck and Curt will examine MOOCs with the "gloves off.” How classes are set up, taught and measured – and what this could mean for your business, continuing education, and future hires - will be debated with audience participation like “Pardon the Interruption” (PTI) on ESPN.

Additional Supporting Materials

Learning Objectives

  1. Will the certificates that students earn while taking MOOCs make traditional college degrees obsolete? And will they change the curricula? Will all learning in the future be just in time (like in the Matrix)? We will discuss what we have seen from universities so far and point to some of the ones leading the way. The trendsetters may surprise audience members.
  2. Universities banding together to collectively build and share content is not a new idea. Some early MOOC-like projects have been complete failures even after a lot of effort and money were invested. Won't these new MOOCs suffer the same fate? If it is going to work "this time"what is different now?
  3. Who stands the most to gain and the most to lose if things continue along the current trajectory with reference to MOOCs. What are the best case and worst case scenarios that you see in regards to MOOCs? Might residential universities be bought by Disney and converted to theme parks?



Charles Severance, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Michigan

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