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MOOCs, High Technology, and Higher Learning

, 184 pages
September 2015



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MOOCs, High Technology, and Higher Learning

In MOOCs, High Technology, and Higher Learning, Robert A. Rhoads places the OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement into the larger context of a revolution in educational technology. In doing so, he seeks to bring greater balance to increasingly polarized discussions of massively open online courses (MOOCs) and show their ongoing relevance to reforming higher education and higher learning.

Rhoads offers a provocative analysis of a particular moment in history when cultural, political, and economic forces came together with evolving teaching and learning technologies to bring about the MOOC. He argues persuasively that the OCW and MOOC movements have had a significant impact on the digitalization of knowledge and that they have helped expand the ways students and teachers interact and develop ideas collaboratively. He also critically analyzes the extensive media coverage of MOOCs while examining empirical studies of MOOC content delivery, the organizational system supporting the OCW/MOOC movement, and faculty labor concerns.

Too often, technology advocates champion the MOOC movement as a solution to higher education’s challenges without recognizing the pedagogical, social, and economic costs. MOOCs, High Technology, and Higher Learning challenges many of the democratic claims made by MOOC advocates, pointing to vast inequities in the ways MOOCs are presented as an alternative to brick-and-mortar access for low-income populations. This book offers a clear-eyed perspective on the potential and peril of this new form of education.

Robert A. Rhoads is a professor of higher education and organizational change at the University of California–Los Angeles and a faculty affiliate at UCLA’s Center for Chinese Studies. He is the coauthor of China’s Rising Research Universities: A New Era of Global Ambition.

"A timely book that not only defines and describes MOOCs but also situates the MOOC phenomenon within a cultural context by discussing various intersecting cultures and forces that have contributed to their development. An important contribution."

"Professor Rhoads chronicles the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs) from 2008 to 2014...Recommended [for] upper-division undergraduates through graduates, faculty and professional readers."

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