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July 19, 2013


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Charles Paul Hoffman

I'm not terribly surprised. This spring, I signed up with a MOOC on another platform as something of an experiment, to see whether I thought it a good alternative to in-person classes. My experience was okay, but I definitely learned that you get out what you put in. It was extremely easy to ignore everything on a page (including the lecture videos), scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click next. In other words, it is even easier than a traditional class to slack off, skip, and then hope to cram for the final (though my class, not being for a grade, did not feature a final).

On the other hand, a lot of the discussion in the online forums was quite good, but, again, you would only know that if you took the time to read through the comments. I suspect, however, that this course was somewhat atypical in that regard - I doubt the comments in most intro level courses would be very helpful. And, it goes without saying that it would be near impossible to do so etching approaching the Socratic method in the online discussion forums.

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