ORLANDO — The men and women who attend the Sloan Consortium’s annual meeting have been toiling in the fields of online learning for many years, so they could be forgiven for having a wee bit of skepticism (if not resentment) about “MOOC mania,” the hubbub of hyper-attention that has been paid in recent months to the massive open online courses developed by Harvard, MIT, Stanford and other elite universities.
“MOOCS will change the world and make the rest of higher education obsolete. Hyper-prestigious universities are driving all the change. Umm, I don’t think so, folks,” Jack Wilson, president emeritus of the University of Massachusetts system and Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, said during the conference’s opening plenary Wednesday afternoon.
“They’re certainly not the first movers; they’re not even the fast followers,” he added, to applause from some in the audience. “It’s great to have them on board. But that is not who has led online learning, or who is going to lead online learning.”