July 15th, 2014
If students in a face-to-face course emailed their provost with concerns that their professor had stopped lecturing, chances are that someone -- a department head or an administrator -- would intervene. But what if the students were scattered across different countries and time zones in a not-for-credit massive open online course?
The issue of MOOC quality control has resurfaced in the wake of the #MassiveTeaching debacle, the MOOC-turned-social experiment that last week inspired a scavenger hunt across the internet.
By Tuesday afternoon, one observant Inside Higher Ed commenter had cracked the case. After a successful first week of “Teaching Goes Massive: New Skills Required,” Paul-Olivier Dehaye, assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Zurich, deleted the course content as part of a social experiment to show students how their data can be manipulated online. But since Dehaye had not notified anyone of his intentions, the experiment raised confusion rather than awareness.