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Asking the right questions about online courses
The debate about massively open online courses, or MOOCs, has reached such fevered pitch that we recently got to witness an internecine argument about it at The New York Times. On one side was the technology-optimist columnist Thomas Friedman, who imagines a time when students in a remote village in Egypt could install a couple of computers with high-speed Internet access, hire a local facilitator and study with the best professors in the world. On the other side, the Times' editorial board felt compelled to point out that most online courses are pretty dreadful, with high dropout rates and poor learning outcomes.
By Elliot King and Neil Alperstein
March 5, 2013