Redefining MOOC

If you haven’t read Audrey Watters’ coverage of the Coursera / Chegg deal, I highly recommend it. The short version is, DRM’ed commercial content is making its way into MOOCs, and this stands to make all involved – including the professors – quite wealthy.

While I completely and fully support recent calls to “reclaim open“, I think the term MOOC is irretrievably out of the barn. Consequently, perhaps the only way left to put an end to the openwashing of the big for-profit MOOC providers is to redefine the term MOOC in the popular mind. I propose that, whenever you hear the acronym MOOC, you think:

“Massively Obfuscated Opportunities for Cash”

True, the obfuscation is less massive and more transparent each day. But now that DRM is here, we can no longer call these things open. We need to call them what they are. As Audrey wrote,

What was a promise for free-range, connected, open-ended learning online, MOOCs are becoming something else altogether. Locked-down. DRM’d. Publisher and profit friendly. Offered via a closed portal, not via the open Web.

They have become Massively Obfuscated Opportunities for Cash.

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