Where Did MOOCs Come From?

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This excerpt is the second chapter of Jonathan Haber's book MOOCs, from the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series.

When looking for precedents regarding the symbiosis between technology and education, one could go back to the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe when a new communication technology, the printing press, became associated with a theology that stressed personal study of the bible, which the new printing technology made more widely available. This historic combination created the need for a more widely literate public, a need that could be met only by expanding education beyond clerics and aristocrats.

But it was the value later Enlightenment figures placed on universal education that led to the creation of public school systems as well as the massive expansion of institutions of higher learning from the eighteenth century onward. These Enlightenment-era thinkers also embraced science as a road to progress in all aspects of human life, a faith that only became more intense in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when technology was revolutionizing existing industries, such as agriculture and transportation, while creating a host of new activities like automated factory production and global commodities trade. In addition to disrupting established methods of manufacturing and commerce, these innovations also created the need for increasing numbers of educated managers and technocrats.

Faith in the combined virtues of universal education and technical progress meant that from the nineteenth century onward, any new breakthrough in communications technology was almost immediately put to work toward the goal of educating the masses, with MOOCs being just the latest manifestation of this historic impulse.

Distance Education

When MOOCs are discussed in the context of distance education, an analogy is often drawn to correspondence courses first popularized in the 1840s by the UK’s Sir Isaac Pittman, whose correspondence colleges offered to train students in his new shorthand method by sending them instruction manuals through the mail.1

This early iteration of education by post created an industry that continues to this day. Those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s may associate correspondence  classes with invitations to draw Winky the Deer or Lucky the Duck appearing on matchbooks or in ads in popular magazines, the recruitment method for Art Instruction Inc., a correspondence school founded in 1914 that offers art instruction by mail.2 But correspondence classes were also the means by which major universities tried to fulfill their mission for educational outreach.

In the late 1800s, for example, US schools such as Illinois Wesleyan, the University of Chicago (under the leadership of distance education pioneer William Rainley Harper3), and the University of Wisconsin all offered degree programs through the mail. The concentration of such programs in the Midwest reflected a mission for many of these newly created institutions to support educational outreach to rural communities that lacked easy access to the resources of a major urban campus. These distance education programs were also heavily involved with government programs at the federal and state level (such as the creation of the Extension Service and foundation of Land Grant Colleges), which tried to improve the conditions of Americans living in underserved agricultural regions. The undergraduate and even graduate degree-bymail opportunities these schools offered also opened up opportunities for educational advancement to other dispersed communities such as military personnel.

The technological breakthroughs that made correspondence-based education possible during this era were infrastructural (such as the expansion of rail and road networks, which enabled the mail to reach every home) and mechanical (the machine-powered printing press, which dramatically lowered the cost of printed books).

Low-cost printing, which was made possible as a result of modern farming and manufacturing techniques in the paper industry, fueled other informal means of bringing educational content to previously marginalized communities. Public libraries, for example, which expanded into every community in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, were able to stock inexpensively produced books that a growing publishing industry was churning out in ever greater numbers. This technology-driven downward price spiral also meant books were finding their way into private hands through familiar commercial channels such as bookstores and modern distribution techniques such as the traveling salesman.4

Low-cost print and distribution opened up other avenues for books to reach the masses. To cite one example, my father (a retired professor of literature) discovered what we would now term “The Great Books” in the library of his father, a factory foreman who had obtained them free as part of his subscription to PM, a left-leaning New York news daily that decided access to the classics was essential to uplifting members of the working class.

Electronic Media

Broadcast media, first radio in the 1920s and then television in the 1950s, created opportunities for important partnerships between newly emerging broadcasters hungry for content, skilled lecturers with an interest in reaching a wider audience, and national governments interested in ensuring a public education mission for the broadcast spectrum they were licensing and regulating.

In the United States, this mission took the form of licensing radio stations at educational institutions (over 200 such licenses were granted between 1918 and 1946). But formal education via this medium failed to catch on (by 1940, the only college course offered by radio had no takers). 5 Television fared somewhat better in the educational arena with programs such as Sunrise Semester (which ran on the CBS broadcast network from 1957 through 1982), allowing New York University to offer for-credit courses on a range of disciplines to students willing to sit through enough 6 am lectures.

As advances in recording technology lowered costs of production and distribution of audio (via inexpensive LPs, cassette tapes, and eventually audio CDs), and video (via Beta, then VHS video tape, and finally DVDs), these media became yet another means to distribute educational content. And distance education organizations were quick to embrace these new technologies, as were businesses eager to find new worker-training methods that were less expensive and disruptive than live classes run during work hours.

Recorded college lectures continue to be popular, as reflected by the success of products such as the Great Courses series by The Teaching Company or the Modern Scholar lectures by Recorded Books, both offering lecture courses in a variety of college-level disciplines via CD, DVD, and Internet download. And Apple’s iTunes U service, which allows people to download audio and video recordings of live college classes, has been a popular part of the company’s media offerings since 2007.

But lectures alone, either broadcast or recorded (or in the classroom, for that matter), were never enough to constitute the entirety of an educational experience, which is why it required a new generation of distance-learning pioneers to come up with new pedagogies that would stitch together the various components of a class, including lectures, reading assignments, graded homework, and tests, into something recognizable as a complete and genuine “course.”

While the first steps in this direction were taken by schools such as the University of South Africa (which began offering degrees at a distance in 1962), the most wellknown example of a virtual campus that leveraged each new communication technology as it became available is the UK’s Open University (OU), which took in its first students in 1971.6

In addition to embracing radio, television, audio and video recordings, and eventually the Internet as educational communication tools, Open University, unlike similar distance education initiatives at the time, had no formal entrance requirements beyond the ability to pay (often subsidized) and willingness to participate in classes and complete assignments. And while the digital computing and Internet technologies that would eventually underlie MOOCs were not in existence as Open University grew to serve hundreds of thousands of students in its first decades, OU’s program represents one of the first instances of the no-barriers philosophy that would become a cornerstone of massive online learning.

Computer-Based Teaching

Early attempts to integrate technology into the classroom— one of the most interesting being B. F. Skinner’s Teaching Machine,7 a mechanical device that would feed content to students using a predetermined algorithm— never got much traction in the primary grades it was envisioned to serve. But such inventions did create a template for subsequent devices and techniques to come that would use technology to diverge from the one-size-fits-all-at-thesame- time pedagogies that formed the basis of traditional classroom education.

It took the introduction of the digital computer, which offered information storage and sharing resources that facilitated communications and interaction, to provide a platform that would eventually replace disparate educational modalities (such as lectures on audio or video tape, readings delivered by mail, or exams taken on site) with a single point of entry for most if not all of the distance education experience.

Like all of the technologies mentioned so far in this chapter, the computer was embraced almost immediately as an educational instrument—this despite severe limitations of early devices, which consisted of large centralized systems with which students interacted primarily via terminals capable of displaying only text-based characters.

PLATO (standing for Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), a system developed in the 1960s by professors at the University of Illinois, is probably the most important early attempt to apply new computing technologies to challenges in education.8 While built on networked mainframe systems that primarily time-sliced character-based content to “dumb” terminals, PLATO evolved to incorporate elements its creators decided were crucial to education. For example, the need to display graphics as well as text led PLATO’s builders to innovate precursors to the graphical user interface eventually taken up by computer scientists at Xerox PARC, innovations that ultimately found their way into the Apple Macintosh and Windows systems we today take for granted. And the importance of facilitating professor-to-student and student- to-student communication led PLATO’s makers to construct technologies that prefigured and inspired electronic mail, bulletin board systems, and all of the other online communications facilities that underlie today’s hyperconnected world.

As computers went through their rapid evolution from centralized systems based on mainframe and minicomputers connected to “dumb” terminals through low-cost and autonomous microcomputers to today’s powerful networked machines, education continued to find new uses for each advance in computing technology.

For example, early microcomputers that ran character-based operating systems (such as the Apple II and IBM PC running DOS) or graphical operating systems (like the Macintosh or IBM PCs and clones running Microsoft Windows) were embraced by home and school users as educational tools that could run standalone teaching software, including educational games, flashcards, and automated homework exercises. But it was the networked communication facilitated by the Internet’s rise in the 1990s that turned computing technology from a support tool to a potential replacement for the traditional classroom.

It should be noted that by the time the Internet (first created in the 1960s) started to enter the mainstream, previous limitations associated with desktop computers were becoming a thing of the past. For instance, plummeting hardware costs meant computers with enough memory and storage capacity to run multimedia applications like audio and video had become commodities. And by the time a new generation of online universities opened its doors, high-speed bandwidth was also becoming available and affordable (at least in the developed world) as the once familiar modem whistle followed by a blast of static was replaced by instantly available audio and video content from, among other places, institutions of learning.

Education has been transformed not only through advances in technology but by advances in teaching methodology and pedagogy, by educational reform movements (many emphasizing outcomes and testing), and by political decisions regarding how to prioritize the substantial sums government invests in education at the local, state/ regional, and national levels. And even as these new ways of teaching and learning have been influenced by a rapidly expanding educational technology industry, they have also provided the intellectual foundation upon which many EdTech ventures have been built.

Any one of these topics deserves its own historical account. But for purposes of continuing this chapter’s storyline leading to the emergence of the MOOC, a list of relevant innovations related to online learning that started in the 1990s includes the following:

  • The introduction of learning management systems (LMSs) into college campuses, which automated the interaction between students and professors (through features such as automated distribution of syllabus material and submission of homework assignments), as well as professors and administrators (through systems such as centralized grading and reporting).
  • The creation of a new generation of distance-teaching providers that today use the Internet as their primary content-delivery mechanism, one of the most well known being the University of Phoenix, which opened its doors in 1976 and began offering online classes in 1989.
  • The embrace of online teaching by traditional colleges and universities where, as described in a 2011 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (which incorporates survey research involving college presidents and students): “More than three-quarters of the nation’s colleges and universities now offer online classes, according to the survey of college presidents, and about one-in-four college graduates (23%) have taken a course online, according to the general public survey. Among those who have graduated in the past decade, the figure rises to 46%.”9

Experimentation

The Internet did not remain static as educators tried to figure out how to make use of its benefits while avoiding its pitfalls. Upsides of the new communications medium included dramatic increases in efficiency and rapid expansion of reach, while downsides included a developing culture of distraction that threatened to disrupt class time, not to mention a culture of giving things—including educational content—away for free that threatened to disrupt the business models undergirding higher education.

The emergence of social media products such as Facebook and Twitter provided the means to instantly create online communities, including communities of learners, who could participate in projects together regardless of geographical location. And as free, cloud-based resources tore down barriers to content creation and distribution, comparisons began to be drawn between the education field and newspapers and magazines that were not able to reinvent themselves quickly enough to avoid decimation by an online revolution in media.

Discussion of the educational potential of these tools was taking place within a wider decades-long and fretful conversation over an education system claimed to be in a perpetual state of crisis, even as proponents of pedagogical and political solutions were providing competing answers to less-than-clearly understood questions. This environment created a ready audience for anyone proposing technology- based cures (including magic bullets) for the ills of education, an audience that included parents staring down six-figure tuition bills that might buy their kids access to schools delivering ever-larger classes taught by adjuncts and graduate students rather than full professors.

Educational entrepreneurs and altruists, including countless emerging educational technology (or EdTech) ventures and educational nonprofits, were more than ready to provide their own alternatives in the form of educational products and programs, many of them leveraging the same all-but-free Internet infrastructure being used by large educational publishers and universities themselves to deliver a variety of proposed solutions to society’s educational ills.

One of these ills was the aforementioned ever-increasing size of classes, a problem that could theoretically be solved by allowing small online communities of learners to band together based on their interests and ability level to create more intimate educational experiences tailored to the needs of individual students. But it would take until 2008 before one of these experimenters decided to deliberately increase class size as a means for improving education. And once the threshold of a thousand students in a single class was breached, the age of the MOOC had begun.

Opening Up the Class

Before “massiveness” became the focus of attention in online learning, “open” was the key driver for a series of experiments in online education from which today’s MOOCs ultimately emerged.

As mentioned in chapter 1, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative was founded in 2002 to make content from MIT’s classroom-based courses available over the Internet to teachers, college students, and independent learners. Today, material from over 2,000 MIT classes, cutting across all disciplines, can be accessed and used for educational purposes, and MIT is a member of an OpenCourseWare Consortium that makes available multilingual educational materials from countries around the world.

OpenCourseWare provides a powerful example of how institutions can share educational resources with the public. However, the contents of OCW libraries can vary considerably from institution to institution and even from course to course. For example, only a small percentage of MIT’s OCW classes include video recordings of lectures, with the majority of courses covered by lecture notes and slides alongside reading lists, exams, and other text-based content. And while anyone is free to follow along with a course syllabus (also provided for each course in the MIT OCW library), OpenCourseWare is generally not considered to provide a comprehensive substitute for structured MIT classes.

Throwing open the doors of existing structured classes to people not associated with the institution where the course was being taught was a logical next step in the evolution of online openness.

Technology-wise, there was little to prevent course content that was already automated and delivered to students on and off campus through a school’s online learning management system from being made available to people not connected with the college or university. But actually inviting the public to take a course for free (where they would be working alongside traditional students who had paid to take the same class) was a radical step taken by educational envelope pushers like Dr. David Wiley of Utah State University.10

In 2008, Wiley opened up one of his education courses to the world, allowing anyone interested to participate alongside his tuition-paying Utah State students. These external students were asked to take part in all of the class work performed by Utah students, including submitting written assignments that Dr. Wiley graded like any other papers submitted in his classes. And while Utah State did not provide official recognition or credit to external students taking the course for free, Dr. Wiley issued his own signed certificates of completion—prefiguring the types of quasi-official course-gradation documents that would come to characterize the MOOC reward system a few years later.

Now Wiley’s experiment drew fewer than ten external enrollees who took the course alongside fifteen Utah State students, so grading papers and personally signing certificates represented a modest increase in workload, well worth the effort for a professor dedicated to evangelizing the benefits of open learning. But while that small Utah class was creating an important precedent for future open online course initiatives, further North another experiment would add massiveness into the equation.

The first course to earn the title of a MOOC was Connectivism and Connective Knowledge taught by Stephen Downes, senior researcher for the National Research Council of Canada, and George Siemens, associate director for the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Canada’s Athabasca University.11

This 2008 course (which was repeated in 2011 and 2012) looks very different from the institution-based MOOC classes that would be making news from 2011 onward. For the connectivist approach to knowledge and learning that was the subject of the course also characterized the way the entire project was organized.

The connectivism model championed by pioneers such as Siemens and Downes sees knowledge and learning through the lens of how information becomes incorporated into the brain, an organic system in which billions of neurons form trillions of connections with learning measured in the net number of new connections created. Such a vision has obvious analogs with computer networks (which is why classes organized along connectivist principles are often referred to as “networked learning”). And once the Internet became large enough to facilitate a number of nodes that could be measured in the hundreds of millions (if not billions), it became possible to create a course based on this connectivist understanding of how people learn.

Unlike a standard online class delivering traditional classroom elements such as lectures, reading assignments, homework, and tests via a learning management system, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge was built around a variety of online communication tools with students forming organic communities through bulletin boards and chat rooms, social media products like Facebook and Twitter, or sharing services like RSS. And as these communities formed, they linked up with other communities as the network defining the class grew and evolved.

In order to provide some connective tissue for the program, Downes and Siemans posted a daily newsletter containing links to recommended articles, videos, and other content that students were free to review, discuss, add to, or ignore. And instead of attending scheduled lectures where the professors acted as sages performing from a virtual stage, students were invited to participate in biweekly presentations by the course leaders, by people the professors invited to speak, or by individuals drawn from the community of networked learners.

Under this connectivist framework, all material generated by the professors (such as presentations, reading recommendations, and discussion forums) was optional, with students free to use what they liked, create and share their own curriculum materials, and take the community-based conversation in directions never planned by the creators of the course.

Given this framework, large class size, assumed to be inversely proportional to teaching and learning quality in a traditional classroom setting, suddenly became an asset rather than a liability. For the bigger the connectivist “class,” the greater the potential for the quantity and variety of nodal connections that define success for networked learning.

The term “MOOC” was created by another Canadian, David Cormier, manager of web communications and innovations at the University of Prince Edward Island and the host of the weekly EdTechTalk webcast. Cormier helped facilitate Downes’s and Seimens’s connective learning project and coined the term “Massive Open Online Course” or “MOOC” during an EdTechTalk interview with the course creators in 2008.12

The connectivist vision continues to generate a great deal of passion as well as a roster of online courses organized around its principles of decentralized networks. But as class sizes for these types of courses stabilized in the three- and four-figure range, a new vision for the MOOC— the xMOOC—would start racking up enrollments of tens and even hundreds of thousands.

xMOOC vs. cMOOC

The origin of what we now consider to be mainstream MOOCs, which began with the Stanford open learning experiment and evolved into consortia of colleges and universities delivering online courses through companies such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX, was described in chapter 1. But while such classes may have become synonymous with the term “MOOC” in the educational and popular media, people involved with some of the earlier experiments in online learning described in this chapter use the term xMOOC to distinguish the newer massive courses from the connectivist MOOCs (now referred to as cMOOCs) that came before.

Given that one of the saving graces of the otherwise unattractive MOOC acronym is its pronounceability, it’s no surprise that this pair of unwieldy variants failed to capture an audience beyond a small community of learning specialists. And while it’s tempting to characterize xMOOCs and cMOOCs as representing opposing pedagogies or ideologies with regard to their approach to largescale online learning, such reductivism threatens to blur more interesting distinctions and overlaps between the two ways MOOCs have manifested themselves to date.

After all, “xMOOC” is not a banner the current crop of MOOCs from companies like Coursera and edX chose to travel under but rather is a label assigned to later forms of MOOC classes by advocates for specific theories of connectivism. And unlike cMOOCs, xMOOCs are not built around a specific educational theory or pedagogy, even if most of them can be characterized as replicating traditional classroom models designed around lectures, homework assignments, and assessments.

Also, as interesting as connectivist educational models might be, and as important as cMOOCs were in breaking down barriers to large-scale online classes, the number of people who have chosen to participate in xMOOC classes surpasses cMOOC participants by at least two orders of magnitude. Now it is not at all clear whether the popularity of an MIT xMOOC like Circuits and Electronics (with enrollment of over 150,000) is due to its xMOOC nature, the subject matter, or the fact that it is a free course from MIT. But it does seem as though the emerging MOOC market is driven more by content and association with prestige universities than it is by either technology or pedagogical theory.

Regarding overlap between various flavors of MOOC, keep in mind the experimental nature of the entire massive open course undertaking, a culture of research, assimilation, and trial-and-error described in detail in chapter 5. So, far from seeing cMOOC experiments in community formation as a rival pedagogy, many creators of xMOOCs see classes like Connectivism and Connective Knowledge as just one more set of precedents to draw from as they put together and continued to tinker with their own massive online courses.

Family Tree

Rather than focusing on narrow x- and c-genera of the MOOC phenomenon, a better way to think about MOOC variants is by placing them on different branches of a far larger and more complex family tree alongside multiple variants of online learning, not to mention other modern teaching tools and techniques, all descending from a common pair of ancestors: technology and education.

With these two playing the role of Adam and Eve, descendants of the pairing of education and technology include not just multiple species of online education (which includes MOOCs, online colleges, and LMS-driven online learning within K–12 and higher education) but a host of transformations within the classroom where teachers at all grade levels are drawing upon new technology-based resources to construct, enliven, and transform how learning takes place, implementing pedagogies quite at odds with the way education has traditionally been delivered.

For instance, “Flipped Classroom Models”13 involve replacing the usual sequence of in-class lectures followed by assignments and projects done at home with a new workflow that involves students watching recorded lectures as homework, freeing class time for extended in-depth discussion or work on complex individual and group projects. MOOCs are frequently brought up in discussions of flipping the class where it is assumed that recorded MOOC lectures will provide at-home video content. But even before the advent of MOOCs, educators have been implementing this method of teaching by recording their own lectures or curating material from different commercial and noncommercial third-parties for both homework/lectures and inclassroom exercises.

The concept of “curation,” which involves teachers locating and procuring educational material from various sources and integrating it into the class, has also destabilized another mainstay of primary, secondary, and postsecondary education: the textbook. Whereas public school districts once purchased individual texts for each student (or, as in my own kids’ schools, purchases two copies per student freeing them from having to drag heavy hardcover tomes home each day), they are now gravitating toward e-book versions of the same texts which are being supplemented by material found from sources like the open web.

Professors at colleges and universities who face less pressure than do K–12 teachers to use teaching resources— notably textbooks—selected for them (often based on compliance with state standards) have gone much further in replacing textbooks entirely with articles and other content pulled together into inexpensive custom coursepacks or delivered to students free through learning management systems or a library reserve service.

This move away from printed texts in both K–12 and higher education has led to changes across the educational economy, especially since the billions in textbook spending at the K–12 and college levels means that more educational dollars are tied up in this component of the education process than almost any other, including spending on school technology infrastructure. Expectations that this money would eventually find a new home fueled massive consolidation and acquisition activity within the textbook industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s as investors bet that established publishers would have the resources and customer base needed to take best advantage of a “move to digital” represented by the merging of content and technology. But as those textbook behemoths struggled to wean themselves off high-margin book sales and find and implement new business models that stood the risk of cannibalizing existing businesses, another set of investors started placing bets on younger, smaller high-tech startups that could offer new educational products and services unencumbered by existing high-profit product lines, legacy technology, or outmoded business practices. And some of the beneficiaries of this investor interest (some would say speculation) in EdTech have been MOOC companies that have received tens of millions of dollars in funding in the belief that millions of “eyeballs” obtained through giving college courses away for free could eventually be converted into revenue.

Before leaving the subject of textbooks, it should also be noted that one of the factors that left educational publishers open to customer flight was pricing policies that raised textbook prices at nearly twice the rate of inflation. While this also left publishers open to criticism and even political condemnation, these for-profit companies seemed a convenient surrogate for an attack on colleges and universities, whose costs were also spiraling beyond the reach of ordinary people leading to, among other problems, a trillion-dollar educational debt bubble that looms as the next great financial crisis

While an analysis of the factors behind the exorbitant costs of college is beyond the scope of this book,14 it should be noted that much of the discussion of MOOCs as a potential substitute for a traditional college education grows out of concerns that colleges and universities are pricing themselves out of a market and will need to be replaced (or at least supplemented) with different, less-expensive alternatives, alternatives that have the potential to disrupt the status quo.

As you can see from this history, the MOOC phenomenon is interwoven with and playing out against a backdrop of economics and politics, changes in educational pedagogies and approaches, and shifting expectations with regard to education resulting from the expanding capabilities and choices offered to students and teachers through new technologies.

In chapter 4 we will take a closer look at some of the issues that have grown out of the debate over massive open online courses. But before looking at such controversies, we need to answer a more fundamental question of what is (and just as important what is not) a MOOC?

Notes

1. See Diane Matthews, “The Origins of Distance Education,” T H E Journal [Technological Horizons in Education] 27, no. 2 (September 1999): 54, available at http://thejournal.com/articles/1999/09/01/the-origins-of-distance-educat....

2. The organization still exists and continues to offer mail-based correspondence instruction in studio art under its current name of Art Instruction Schools (www.artinstructionschools.edu/).

3. See Michael Grahame Moore, “From Chautauqua to the Virtual University: A Century of Distance Education in the United States,” ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH (2003), available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED482357.pdf.

4. While door-to-door booksellers would eventually come to be associated with the sale of encyclopedias, the American novelist Mark Twain used this method as his primary means of getting his works into the hands—and money out of the pockets—of American readers.

5. For more information on early education-by-broadcast initiatives, see “A Brief History of Distance Education” by Bizhan Nasseh of Ball State University, available at http://www.seniornet.org/edu/art/history.html.

6. Open University (http://www.open.ac.uk/), which continues to be one of the world’s largest providers of distance learning, created its own MOOC spinoff in 2013 called FutureLearn (https://www.futurelearn.com/), which provides access to free MOOC classes created by UK universities such as Kings College and the University of Edinburgh.

7. See B.F. Skinner, “Why We Need Teaching Machines,” Harvard Educational Review 31 (1961): 377–398.

8. See Mary Timmins, “In the Time of Plato,” Illinois Alumni Magazine, September 10, 2010, available at http://www.uiaa.org/illinois/news/blog/comments.asp?id=163. A PLATO History web site is also available at http://platohistory.org.

9. See Kim Parker, Amanda Lenhart, and Kathleen Moore, “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” Pew Internet and American Life Project, August 28, 2011, available at http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/08/28/the-digitalrevolution-and-higher-e....

10. See Jeffrey R. Young, “When Professors Print Their Own Diplomas, Who Needs Universities?,” Chronicle of Higher Education 55, no. 6 (October 3, 2008), available at http://chronicle.com/article/When-Professors-Print-Their/1185/.

11. Stephen Downes, who runs the popular site Stephen’s Web (www.downes.ca) has self-published a book on the connectivist philosophy of teaching and learning which is available for free download at http://www.downes.ca/post/58207.

12. You can hear an EdTechTalk interview with Siemens and Downes at http://edtechtalk.com/EdTechTalk81.

13. For a discussion of the flipped classroom, see Tina Rosenberg, “Turning Education Upside Down,” New York Times, Opinionator (blog), October 9, 2013, available at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/turning-education-upside..., and “In ‘Flipped’ Classrooms, a Method for Mastery,” New York Times, Opinionator (blog), October 23, 2013, available at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/in-flipped-classrooms-a-....

14. Two books which look at the cost crisis in higher education from different perspectives include Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much by Ronald G. Ehrenberg (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002) and Why Does College Cost So Much? by Ronert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

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