OMG mooc is scary

The main story this summer , in the UK and other places, is what to make of the mooc. (What Jeff Jarvis makes of the Guardian is actually a sideshow)  The universities still have an influence on theory around learning.

Today in the print Guardian James Vernon  writes -

Last December, the commercial launch of the Open University's mooc platform, FutureLearn, attracted the participation of a dozen universities and the support of David Willetts, but little response from Britain's beleaguered academics.

This seems fair enough. Based partly on reading the Guardian there seems to be very little interest in FutureLearn. Almost no comment on how the campus in the UK may be modified. 

There is an argument being made. 

The bottom line is that there really is no replacement for face-to-face interaction between academics and students.

But I can't find anything about blended learning. The main objection seems to be about the commercial nature of some moocs. There is no proposal as to how the technology could be used differently.

The promise of moocs to improve access and democratise knowledge is a chimera.

Has this ever been much different for universities? I have found an earlier blog about the end of the public university in England. This mentions that  there were 457,000 students in 1971 – 14% of the age group.

I think that the mooc is reaching a wider public. I think this style of Guardian reporting is a bit misleading. Just because there is an academic critique the technology trends may not be reversed. Will there be any reports from the universities supporting FutureLearn? Maybe the Guardian Witness approach could help here. I live in Exeter and sometimes visit Lancaster so I will try to find out more. My impression is that both sites have been spending on spectacular architecture. Whether they balance this with web development on the scale of the OU I just don't know. ( I am following the Buzzmachine suggestion, journalism as reporting what you don't know)

Also I hope to visit King's Cross, location for the British Library. I think the news of their involvement in FutureLearn was significant. The resource compares with libraries in Oxford and Cambridge, still reflecting on what to do about the mooc.