Not surprisingly, enterprising MOOCsters are already organizing themselves outside the online classroom, using social-media tools like Google Hangouts and Facebook. Of course, peer learning takes you only so far: At some point, somebody has to know something about the subject. I was a faithful student for a few weeks, until I fell prey to my worst undergraduate habit, procrastination—only now my excuses were far more sophisticated. Somewhere between the videos and the readings and the occasional dip into the discussion groups, I found myself actually learning. Now, I could have read a book or done this on my own. But you could say the same thing about most education. A course is not a book but a journey, led by an expert, and taken in the company of fellow travelers on a common quest for knowledge. My MOOC had those elements, albeit in a pretty crude form. Let’s give this explosion of pent-up innovation in higher education a chance to mature before we rush to the bottom line.
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