Online Learning Update

December 13, 2013

MOOCs as neocolonialism – Who controls knowledge?

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:02 am

by Philip G Altbach, University World News

While academics who develop MOOC courses are no doubt motivated by a desire to do the best job possible and to cater to a wide audience, they are to a significant extent bound by their own academic orientations. Since the vast majority of material used comes from Western academic systems, examples used in science courses are likely to come from America or Europe because these countries dominate the literature and articles in influential journals, and are taught by well known professors from high profile universities. Modes of inquiry reflect the Western mainstream. While this knowledge base and pedagogical orientation no doubt reflect current ideas of good practice, they may not be the only approach to good scientific inquiry or content. The implications for developing countries are serious. MOOCs produced in the current centres of research are easy to access and inexpensive for the user, but may inhibit the emergence of a local academic culture, local academic content and courses tailored specially for national audiences.

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