Guardian Education today has an article by Peter Scott that continues some themes from last year. Worth a look in some detail because there is now not much in the Guardian about universities. This post is mostly in not form, there may be more later depending on what else turns up about the MOOC. there has been so little in the Guardian, and that little mostly negative comment, so this could change sometime soon as the MOOC is not going away.
Actually no mention of the MOOC, unlike last year, but is it somewhere in mind?
The only straw at which they can clutch now is that, as private providers pile in to offer higher education-lite, fees will fall and the total bill to the public will be cut.
Is it too alarmist to imagine a dystopia in which higher education-lite is delivered by a de-professionalised academic workforce (on zero-hours contracts)?
My guess is that this "higher education-lite" is assumed to include all the MOOC offers, wherever they come from. Futurelearn is from the Open University but so far no distinction has appeared in the Guardian.
Peter Scott seems to think that there can be a return to full state funding of a university system on the previous model without any consideration of technology or costs. what was Mode 2 supposed to be about? Was it really open to the sort of knowledge found in practice outside universities? There is learning online in various forms. I don't think there can be much doubt that the technology for something like a MOOC is now widely available. It will come from commercial sources unless something else is available.
Of course, our "top" universities will never behave like that, or only a little – special deals are always available for royal dukes. Harvard does not behave like the University of Phoenix. To do so would be brand suicide.
So for the UK the "top" could mean UCL, Imperial, Oxford Cambridge and the Institute of Education each ignoring Futurelearn to establish a difference. Not sure this will work indefinitely. Is it really good positioning to reject technology?
Meanwhile FUN from France is not reported in the Guardian as far as I know. Could be an approach to a complete national system.