Why Minnesota should say no to MOOCs

cash register

Matthew Filner, head of the social science department at Metropolitan State University, cautions in MinnPost that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) might very well be far from free — at least under recently passed Minnesota legislation:

The language defining “tuition-free” is telling. According to the bill, tuition-free means that “required fees and other required charges paid by the student for the course do not exceed two percent of the most recent average undergraduate tuition” [according to] the U.S. Department of Education (lines 30.34-31.5). Because the current “average undergraduate tuition” is $22,000, for-profit companies may charge up to $440 per course in the form of fees. While that may not seem very much for a semester-long course, the bill did not define what a “course” is. These MOOCs could include hourly, daily, or weekly short-courses, and a full semester might require numerous “courses.” The law therefore allows these fees to add up to thousands of dollars per course.

He’s also skeptical of the “passive” lecture-style nature of MOOC learning.

You can read his full commentary here.