International Educator - May/June 2014 - 75

Even as MOOCs
have spread
quickly around the
world, however,
they have steadily
drawn criticism,
at times ferocious,
for what skeptics
consider vastly

SHUTTERSTOCK

overblown claims.

courses from 33 universities, eight of them
outside the United States.
The most striking part of Friedman's vision was his sketch of how people in the
developing world could benefit from a combination of world-class professors teaching
online MOOC classes and local instructors hired to facilitate learning. He laid
out a scenario in which the United States
could purchase and install computers in an
Egyptian village, then hire a teacher to work
directly with students using MOOC material featuring Arabic subtitles.
Some would call this a romantic notion.
But just nine months later, the State Department launched a modified version of the
idea-a partnership with Coursera in which
American embassies worldwide are hosting
discussion sessions for students enrolled in
MOOCs. Facilitated by embassy employees
and Fulbright fellows, these "MOOC Camps"
are getting underway in over 30 sites, accord-

ing to Fast Company, in countries that include
China, India, and Bolivia; among the subject
discussed in the regular meetings were engineering, science, English, and U.S. civics.

An Equal
and Opposite Reaction
Even as MOOCs have spread quickly around
the world, however, they have steadily
drawn criticism, at times ferocious, for what
skeptics consider vastly overblown claims.
For one thing, the majority of MOOC participants already have degrees and live in
developed countries, which would seem to
undermine the notion that these new educational vehicles are doing much to change
longstanding patterns of uneven access to
quality instruction.
The figures cited by naysayers are
certainly striking. According to a recent University of Pennsylvania survey of more than
400,000 active users of the classes it offers

through Coursera, two-thirds come from
the United States and other Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) industrialized nations. These 34
countries account for a modest 18 percent
of the world's population. Among students
registered for edX, just 2.7 percent come
from countries on the United Nations list
of Least Developed Countries. (To be sure,
the list does not include large nations like
India and China; Agarwal said earlier this
year that nearly half edX's 2 million students
come from developing countries.)
The same Penn survey found that 83 percent of students taking its Coursera classes
already have two- or four-year degrees (and
that about two-thirds of those in developing
countries are male). Among edX students,
two-thirds already have degrees.
Statistics like these, unsurprisingly,
alarm some analysts. "If MOOCs are going to contribute to the democratization of
society, they need to reach new learners,"
said Dag Rune Olsen, a University of Bergen
professor of biomedical physics, at a November 2013 discussion at the Norwegian
embassy in Washington, D.C. Moreover, he
added, though technology is a helpful educational tool, unless used in pedagogically
sound ways, it won't by itself be enough to
help countries reach their higher education
goals. "A fool with a tool is still a fool," he
said, according to the Chronicle of Higher
Education.
Olsen's point about the limitations of
technology is widely shared by MOOC critics. Will students really be able to profit from
world-class professors, they ask, if instruction is almost entirely one-way? MOOCs'
extremely high dropout rates have been
widely discussed: just 5 percent of those enrolled in 17 edX classes in 2012 and 2013
earned certificates of completion. Could this
reflect second- or third-rate pedagogy, or
some other core defect in the online model?
M AY + J U N E .14 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - May/June 2014

International Educator - May/June 2014
Contents
Front Lines
In Brief
New Windows on the World
Green River Community College Attracts International Students at an Early Age
Education Abroad
Foreign Student Affairs
Internationalization Leadership
Partnering
View From Out Here
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - May/June 2014 - International Educator - May/June 2014
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Contents
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 2
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 3
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Front Lines
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 5
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 6
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 7
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 8
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 9
International Educator - May/June 2014 - In Brief
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 11
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 12
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 13
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 14
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 15
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 16
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 17
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 18
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 19
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 20
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 21
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 22
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 23
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 24
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 25
International Educator - May/June 2014 - New Windows on the World
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 27
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 28
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 29
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 30
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 31
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 32
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 33
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 34
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 35
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 36
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 37
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 38
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 39
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Green River Community College Attracts International Students at an Early Age
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 41
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 42
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 43
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 44
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 45
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 46
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 47
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 48
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 49
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 50
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 51
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 52
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 53
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Education Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 55
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 56
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 57
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 59
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 60
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 61
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Internationalization Leadership
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 63
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 64
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 65
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Partnering
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 67
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 68
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 69
International Educator - May/June 2014 - View From Out Here
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 71
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 72
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 73
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Forum
International Educator - May/June 2014 - BB1
International Educator - May/June 2014 - BB2
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 75
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 76
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 77
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 78
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 79
International Educator - May/June 2014 - In Focus
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Cover3
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Cover4
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