SteveH asked: But how about the MITx degree? What's the catch?The final section of Walter Russell Mead's The Ice Cream Party and the Spinach Party is directly relevant.
The catch is that nobody at MIT (that I know of) is talking about an MITx "degree". These and the new Stanford online classes only give you credit toward a degree if you are an admitted MIT or Stanford student.
Otherwise, the idea is to give you some sort of acknowledgement that is carefully designed to make it clear that it is NOT MIT or Stanford credit. Both institutions are desperate to avoid diluting their own brand equity.
However, these projects often take on lives of their own. Some Stanford students are now complaining that they have to pay $5000 to take the same online class that non-students take for free. No difference at all in the educational experience, assignments, tests, feedback from TAs, etc., but the Stanford student pays a fortune and gets Stanford credentials; the equally-taught non-student gets it for free and gets no Stanford credential. That's an unstable situation, I believe, that may end up like breaching a barrier between two oceans at different levels. I'm looking for a flood to pour through this opening, which might overwhelm the people who are trying to keep these projects under control.
I see them right now as desperate to defend their monopolies but well aware that huge pressures are mounting to change the system. I think they figure, rightly, that if they don't disrupt themselves, someone else will do it to them. They probably don't want to be the venerable Kodaks and Fuji Films of higher ed as the world goes digital.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Glen on the flood
In a comment on another thread, Glen writes: