The MOOC ‘Revolution’ May Not Be So Disruptive After All

Career College Central summary:

  • Sen. Darrell Steinberg, the leader of the State Senate, decided to put his online education bill on the back burner last month. The bill, introduced with fanfare in March, originally aimed to push public universities to award academic credit to students who succeeded in some massive open online courses offered by outside providers. But now that the universities have promised to expand their own online courses, the senator sees no immediate need to let outside providers through the door, says spokesman Rhys Williams.
  • The fate of the California bill, SB 520, is the latest indication that MOOCs might not be the revolutionary force that many had imagined. They're not bound for extinction, nor are the companies that rose to prominence on the strength of the MOOC hype doomed. But political, regulatory, administrative, and faculty barriers to the kind of unfettered online education that MOOC promoters originally envisioned have proved quite high, and it's starting to look as if what they have to offer to universities may be technology tools and services that are more helpful than revolutionary.
  • Steinberg's decision to shelve the bill was voluntary, but by the time he made it, SB 520 had already been defanged­­ by a series of revisions that returned control over college credits to university faculties.
  • In Florida the Legislature considered a bill with similar aims that circumvented the higher-education bureaucracy and giving nonuniversity players, including MOOC providers, a chance to have certain courses count for credit. That measure became law, but not before it was blunted by negotiation and compromise.

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