MOOCs are a hoax

…said Dev Patnaik at Uncharted, and I believe he is probably right.

Big institutions (elite schools) have no idea how to deal with PR,  so MOOCs is a good way to increase their influence : it matters for the teachers only.
Ok, I might sound like a Luddite, but studying in class has several (silent yet essential) implications:

  • Selection by the school (signalling theory)
  • Building a network (how many people enrolling a MBA say it’s worthless, except for the network)
  • Argumentative learning : you confronting your ideas with other people is essential in the learning process
  • The focus you have to give has its importance to fight procrastination
  • If it was not working, why would we have small batch of student?
  • If you want to learn by yourself, you can read a book, it’s much more efficient ! (why would you need video ?)
  • Hey ! Why Wikipedia wouldn’t be enough ?

Of course, there a some extraordinary stories such as “the genius from Ulan-Bator », but similar stories happened before the MOOCS, while using just books (Ramanujan is famous for having taught himself in “A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics », which is a fascinating book by the way).

The Dark Side of MOOCs

courtesy of

The next question is : “Will technology invade classrooms ?» Some people are pushing this forward, but the results are not as good as expected