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Is Coursera Facebook, Amazon, or Pets.com? |e-Literate


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"Before I get started, let me just say that Phil can vouch for the fact that I had already planned to use “Pets.com” in the title of this post before MIT Technology Review used it in their article on Minerva. As we’ll see, there are reasons to reach for that particular analogy at this particular moment in educational technology.

Anyway, it’s an uncomfortable truth for educational folks that one of the principal innovations of the xMOOC is the store front. It is the ability to find courses in a catalog. If you look at what Coursera is right now from a platform perspective, it is primarily a store front on top of an LMS. The same could be said of edX. And as Phil and I have both written about recently, this is also the primary innovation in Instructure’s Canvas Network. I don’t expect that innovations in MOOC platforms to stay confined to the store front in the long run; for example, Daphne Koller, the co-CEO of Coursera, is also a leading expert in Bayesian machine learning. I think the scale of usage will drive other innovations. But right now, it’s the store front that is the most obvious differentiator between an LMS and a MOOC platform. As we game out which of the various xMOOC entrants will be successful, it’s important to understand how the store front works and the degree to which the growth of one dominant platform could impact the ways that colleges and universities function. I think there are at least three possibilities."

So what should students today do?

Try a MOOC or stick with a traditional college? 

 This is what a smart student would do. Realize that Gen. Ed is bull. College basically boils down to 16 weeks. 

First, decide if you want a degree : teacher, doctor, lawyer, professor, research, special agent, military officer, et. al

If not, decide what profession. 

Once decided, find something like http://devbootcamp.com and pay $12k and get your job as a software engineer right out of high school. Save cash, so when the inevitable time comes that software engineers are no longer in high demand, you can afford to pay for recertification, training, or accreditation necessary to transition. 

That's option 1. 

Option 2. Use MOOCs to study for AP and CLEP exams. Take all the AP and CLEP exams possible to pass out of general education. Spend only 1-2 years in college focused on major/baccalaureate course work.

Option 3. Use MOOCs as a supplement to your in-classroom learning and to scratch new itches.

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