I posted something over on the BL Digital Scholarship blog today on learning and MOOCs. The post argues, in essence, that for the DH newcomer the DH community can offer as valuable a source of knowledge and learning as any MOOC, and that indeed the community itself represents a MOOC (if one with no end, and neither clear assignments nor measurable outcomes).
Of course, my comments on the MOOC offer something of a caricature of the MOOC. Anyone whose dabbled in this terrain knows that to say ‘the MOOC’ is to force a nebulous collection of learning materials, approaches and platforms under one bulging umbrella, and is much akin to trying to describe all education or higher education as somehow the same or containing the same philosophy. I suspect, though I left this out of the post, that the trajectory of ‘the MOOC’ will be to disrupt our education system by forcing many small or unimaginative or inflexible institutions out of business. It is no accident that an institution such as Stanford has taken a lead, indeed we can all imagine that the conversation with benefactors went something along the lines of: “giving away education for free online could put us out of business, so give us the money to make MOOCs so we can become invaluable in MOOCland before someone else starts making MOOCs and puts us out of business”. Thereafter, in whatever HE landscape is left post-MOOC (I suspect pretty healthy), the MOOC will become an embedded part of a truly global HE system: with the ghastly acronym ‘MOOC’ safely pensioned off.
We can but hope.