PP05-Critical perspective



In case you think that we're jumping on the MOOC bandwagon like everyone else, we should finish by pointing out a few critical perspectives of MOOCs.

There is a dire need for some healthy skepticism among educators about the idea that MOOCs are a wonderful means to go global in order to do good. For our desire to educate the whole world from the convenience of our laptops to be translated into any meaningful effect, we need more research about how students learn in massive open online platforms, and a better understanding of how students from different academic, cultural, social, and national backgrounds fare in such spaces. - Norman (2013).

Not only are some educators skeptical about the value that MOOCs provide, there are critics of the way that for-profit organisations have usurped the use of "open" to describe their offerings, which are anything but.

MOOCs, as popularized by Udacity and Coursera, have done more harm to the cause of open education than anything else in the history of the movement. They have inflicted this harm by promoting and popularizing an abjectly impoverished understanding of the word “open.” - Wiley (2014)

In addition, there are concerns that MOOCs are simply another form of colonialism, exporting North American and European educational values to the global South.

scholars of international education have always warned against “a one-way transfer of educational materials from the rich north to the poor south will amount to a wave of ‘intellectual neo-colonialism.’” But, again, because the MOOC movement is dominated by providers eyeing the world “market” for education, whatever they proclaim to be their motive, their attempts to make MOOCs “accessible” to international learners goes to show that they are either ignorant or unwilling to acknowledge geopolitical dynamics that shape learning experience on a global scale. - Sharma (2013)


In your groups, develop a set of arguments for why open online courses should NOT be included in physiotherapy education. If you ever decide to run your own course, you need to be prepared to defend your choices, and one way to do this is to figure out responses to the challenges you will encounter. Use the online workspace to document your discussion.

  1. Spend a few minutes coming up with reasons for why an open online course may not be a good idea for physiotherapy students.
  2. Then, spend a few minutes coming up with solutions for those obstacles.