Open Access To Public MOOCs

Gary Jason | American Thinker | June 8, 2013

A couple of recent articles on the use of MOOCs (massive open online courses) in California colleges and universities raise an interesting ethical question -- one that hasn't attracted much attention, but certainly merits it.  The issue I have in mind concerns the ownership and control of access to MOOCs produced at publicly funded universities.

The first article reports that one of the large California State University (CSU) campuses, San Jose State (SJSU), is now offering course credit to students taking three MOOCs: one in college algebra, one in developmental math, and one in elementary statistics.  About half the students are SJSU students, while the others are high school students, military members, or community college students.  To be precise, while students can take the courses for free, they can get college credit only if they pay the tuition.

SJSU apparently is using only courses provided by Udacity, an educational organization devoted to promoting MOOCs, and (though the article isn't clear on this score) the courses were developed elsewhere, at universities such as Stanford and MIT.