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Editor’s Welcome | The Launch of MOOC News and Reviews

Welcome to MOOC News and Reviews. We are thrilled to launch officially this week with several new regular and one-time contributors. You’ll be meeting them a couple at a time over the rest of the week.

To kick things off, we’re first presenting a common-sense guide to succeeding in a MOOC from instructional designer Debbie Morrison and a course review from Jonathan Haber, who you may already know from his work at Degree of Freedom on the one-year MOOC B.A. experiment. Debbie and Jonathan’s essays are two excellent examples of the kind of practical perspective and advice I was hoping for when I decided to start this project.

MOOCs are already receiving a lot of valuable critical attention and commentary about what they will mean for higher education and about their theoretical, pedagogical and commercial underpinnings. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of students and teachers who aren’t so interested in those debates and certainly aren’t waiting for them to be resolved are already signed up in MOOCs. They are at the threshold of the classroom right now with questions about which courses are successful, how a given course will impact their own lives and how they can get the most out of the experience.

MOOCs may be hype, as critics say, and those critics may be overreacting. MOOCs might wreck higher education, force it to change for the better or be remembered as a fad. MOOC News and Reviews is officially agnostic on those questions, though many of our contributors may express strong views on them along the way.

Instead, this site’s perspective is that the enthusiasm of the students who have already signed up can’t be denied, at least not by anyone who has actually enrolled in one and witnessed it, and that enthusiasm means something. MOOCs are happening, so let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t and what the standards for evaluating them should be. That was the inspiration for MOOC News and Reviews, and I’m proud of the group of writers we’ve put together to start tackling those questions.

In the coming weeks, you’ll see essays and reviews from graduate students in Spain, ESL teachers in the United Arab Emirates, pre-teen prodigies in Pakistan, online ed specialists in Germany and Amsterdam, IT professionals from major universities, tech entrepreneurs, first-time bloggers and experts in assistive technology. Our goal is to reflect the global diversity of the MOOC student body, and I think our first week material alone will achieve that.

And we’re eager to hear your perspective, too, in whatever form suits you. Share your feedback in the comments section with our contributors, join the conversation on our Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus pages and, most of all, share your own review.

Thank you very much for checking in. We look forward to hearing what you think. In the meantime, as one of our writers who you’ll meet later in the week likes to say, “Happy MOOCing.”


Robert McGuire (52 Posts)

My content marketing services firm provides all-in-one external staff solutions for companies looking to grow their business through thought leadership. I started MOOC News & Reviews in 2013 out of a fascination with the economic, demographic and technological forces impacting edtech, online education and higher education, and I wanted to provide a forum for serious discussion of this new phenomenon. I love building communities of writers engaging in lively critical dialogue about emerging issues.