Today’s Online Education: The Massive and the Intimate

Sanders Theater at Harvard University, filled to the brim with students for Michael Sandel's "Justice" course. In some years, this course included more than 1,000 students. I was a teaching fellow for this course when it began in the early 1980s. I led a couple of sections for discussion and graded my students' work.

The New York Times has christened 2012 as “The Year of the MOOC.” No, “MOOC” has nothing to do with the presidential election or with Hurricane Sandy. “MOOC” means “Massive Open Online Course.” It is the name for a new mode of online education. MOOCs are exploding in popularity. According to Laura Pappano, writing for [Read More...]

Digital Technology and Education: A Mixed Bag

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56155476@N08/6660001925/

Is digital technology the savior of education? Or is it the destroyer of education? Or is it both . . . and neither? For quite a while now, we’ve been told that one of the big secrets for improving education is the Internet. If we want all students to learn, then we need to get [Read More...]

Is Digital Technology Warping Your Brain?

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottvanderchijs/4912947547/

Is digital technology warping your brain? Maybe so. Or at least it is changing your brain. In a recent article in the New York Times, “Your Brain on E-Books and Smartphone Apps,” Nick Bilton confesses that his brain is being shaped by his frequent use of electronic media for reading. Here’s how his confession begins: [Read More...]

What Will Get Swamped in the Tsunami of Online Education?

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/krcla/

Recently, I have been blogging on the coming “tsunami” of online education. In various configurations, dozens of top universities are banding together to offer top quality online education experiences. For now, these will be made available to anyone free of charge. What do leading educators think of this? According to the New York Times, “This [Read More...]


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