Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), as they are situated both inside and outside of traditional higher education institutions, naturally raise questions about those institutions. My recent article, “Occupy the Digital: Critical Pedagogy and New Media,” began to uncover some of those questions. In that article, I assert “that academic work must be useful beyond its tower and that digital culture offers new opportunities to achieve that goal.” Perhaps MOOCs are a way to take academic work beyond its traditional boundaries. Or perhaps MOOCs are so extra-institutional that they will work no real changes on higher education.
In her article, “Considering Coursera’s Expansion,” Audrey Watters ponders some of the same questions. She reminds us that “it’s not clear yet how MOOCs will evolve as they expand to new disciplines and new universities and/or how these MOOCs will change higher education in turn.” From within the institution and from without, educators, pedagogues, and watchful journalists are waiting to find out what will come of higher education.