Anthropology in and of MOOCs
Author(s)Flamenbaum, Rachel; Buyandelger, Manduhai; Downey, Greg; Starn, Orin; Laserna, Catalina; Kelkar, Shreeharsh; Rouse, Carolyn; Looser, Tom; Jones, Graham M.; ... Show more Show less
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The suddenness with which Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, sprang upon us left many within the academy grasping for interpretations. Early proponents touted them as revolutionary tools that could enhance on-campus learning while also making high-quality education accessible to a vast global population, reforming a malfunctioning university system, and producing new kinds of data on how people learn. Critics countered that behind this latest techno-utopian fad lurked an all-too-familiar conservative agenda to downsize the university; the global ambitions of a few elite, resource-rich schools; Silicon Valley corporate interests; and the disciplinary priorities of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (the STEM fields). With some critical distance, the eight scholars in this Vital Topics Forum draw upon their experiences as anthropologists involved in MOOCs and anthropologists doing studies of MOOCs to propel us beyond such facile responses. Doing what anthropologists do best, they employ contextually rich analysis to upend received wisdom about what MOOCs mean, provide processual accounts of how they are made, and offer first-hand observations of how students are using them on the ground.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Anthropology Program; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society
Flamenbaum, Rachel, Manduhai Buyandelger, Greg Downey, Orin Starn, Catalina Laserna, Shreeharsh Kelkar, Carolyn Rouse, and Tom Looser. “Anthropology in and of MOOCs.” Edited by Graham M. Jones. American Anthropologist 116, no. 4 (September 22, 2014): 829–838. © 2014 by the American Anthropological Association
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