Best case scenario

I was having dinner this evening with a friend who is very optimistic about the prospects of on-line courses. So despite all the unknowns, I let myself think through the “best case scenario”.

Right now a very large percentage of the world lives in relative poverty (relative, that is, to the average wealth of those of you who are reading this). While an outstanding teacher or professor can inspire perhaps thirty or three hundred students at a time, even a mediocre teacher can potentially reach, on-line, hundreds of millions — or even billions — of learners.

Since most teaching still relies on physical proximity, we are currently living in a sort of pre-literate society: An upper crust of people have access to truly superior education, while billions of others have no real access to learning the sort of literacy that would allow them to become entrepreneurs, inventors, voices for political change, or other sorts of active players in the global culture and economy.

Suppose MOOCs continue to evolve, until some sort of truly effective high quality education becomes available to the great majority of the seven billion people on this planet. That might bring about the beginning of a true globally literate society.

Which wouldn’t be at all bad for our global standard of living.

2 Responses to “Best case scenario”

  1. CC says:

    How would you feel about teaching a MOOC?

  2. admin says:

    The interactive examples that I have begun integrating into my teaching are already a move to enable that direction.

    My course preparation has become more focused on flexibly as to how my message is delivered — whether to 50 students in person, or 50,000,000 by small video snippets together with interactive examples and exercises, or anything in between.

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