It’s not a cure for everything, folks…

So this happened. San Jose State killed their much-talked-about MOOC experiment. For some pretty good reasons.

But I don’t really care about that, if I’m honest. I think the wrong bit of it is getting all the attention.

Consider what the university did: They took the large numbers of at-risk freshmen who needed to take some basic and remedial courses, and mandated that they do so in a MOOC. In doing so, they took an ill prepared population and pushed them into a method of teaching that has little (none, really) interaction and personal connection with a human instructor, and has no face time- and requires very good time management skills as well as an ability to work independently. Freshmen. At risk.

See the problem?

I started a MOOC once- Dan Ariely was teaching a free course about Decision Making Psychology on Coursera. It was really good- good subject, excellent instructor, well structured, and free. I made it two weeks.

I’m clearly a decent student to have gathered the education I have- I can focus and time manage and all those other skills. But the complexities of my life pulled me away regardless- and this from a course I liked! What, then, can we possibly expect of at-risk freshmen?