the cynicism of profits

Aaron Barlow, over on, and a participant in the upcoming “E-learning and Digital Cultures” MOOC, made some observations on Thomas Friedman’s recent NYT op-ed piece.

That Friedman’s conception of MOOCs is “starry-eyed” is an understatement. Friedman’s piece is textbook stuff: the wholly anecdotal, mind-numbingly-misleading hyperbole of self-declared visionaries.

But Friedman’s puffery gives Barlow the opportunity to present a more worldly and moderate sense of the course.

But, alone, MOOCs are not going to change education or revolutionize it. Any careful study of the history of education will tell you that.

Over the course of the five-week MOOC we are engaging upon, a number of us will be posting here on our experience. I look forward to it, but I am not going into this starry-eyed like Friedman. However, I do recognize that, though the MOOCs may be a fad, even in a fad there can be something of value.

I’m on the course, and I, too, am looking forward to it – not the least because the group from Edinburgh considers it an experiment rather than a revolutionary shot heard round the world.

I wonder if Friedman is in the course. That could be interesting. Typically, revolutions in education are declared for others, not the prophets.