Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EdX Drops Plans To Connect MOOC Students With Employers

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the no-job-for-you dept.

Education 59

First time accepted submitter cranky_chemist writes "MOOC provider edX plans to abandon a program that allowed companies to mine their massive open online courses for talent after a pilot program in which none of 868 students were hired failed. edX cited HR departments for the program's demise, stating 'Existing HR departments want to go for traditional degree programs and filter out nontraditional candidates.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Not Surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707067)

This is not surprising at all. Online access to education is mostly good as a supplement to skills, not as a means to get a qualification or a job.

Re:Not Surprising (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45707103)

This is not surprising at all. Online access to education is mostly good as a supplement to skills, not as a means to get a qualification or a job.

I have a similar attitude towards traditional education as well.

Don't get me wrong, learning theory in a classroom is important. But it's not a substitute for good ol' fashioned practical experience.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45707545)

Classroom learning == "sage on the stage".

It's nothing more than the path of least resistance and highest convenience for researchers who are forced to show up at least a few times a year but whose interests are just elsewhere. That's why it is the way it is.

Trying going to university and changing the way they do things, putting courses online or REALLY being innovative about how people learn and interact.

I did in 1999. They took me apart- kicked me out of labs, literally hounded me out of school. My sin? I wanted to pout all my major's courses online so that profs wouldn't have to teach them over and over again and people could spend classrom time asking custom questions, which themselves would be recorded for posterity. And that was just the start.

I now realized the more i enthusiastically revealed plans for this independent study, the more the prof I was doing it with was determined to see me thrown out of first the lab with the computers and then school, something they did with much skullduggery and practical violence to might be referred to as the "social contract " assumed to exist between universities and their students.

They don't want any of this to happen in the worst way. They'll break the law to see it not happen. I am sure they'd kill to see it not happen if they thought they could get away with it. Maybe they have, who really knows? We're talking about a trillion dollar industry here that employs tens of millions of people and is well connected throughout the highest levels of society and the national security apparatus. Who knows how far they'd go if they feel mortally threatened, I can give you a baseline as to what they'd do and it's not pretty. ....

The important thing is it's going to happen anyway. The university as we know it- everyone go away someplace at great expense for 6 years- is going to go away and there's nothing they can do to stop it, channel it, make it work for them or any other such thing. You can fuck with individual lives, especially when those individuals have no real power and you're basically an egomaninical, sociopathic steroidial monster . But that's not the last word in history is it now? No it's not. Not by a long shot.

They're called "flipped classrooms" (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 10 months ago | (#45708099)

Trying going to university and changing the way they do things, putting courses online or REALLY being innovative about how people learn and interact. I did in 1999. They took me apart- kicked me out of labs, literally hounded me out of school. My sin? I wanted to pout all my major's courses online so that profs wouldn't have to teach them over and over again and people could spend classrom time asking custom questions, which themselves would be recorded for posterity.

If it makes you feel better, in the years since you left the process you're describing has become a major educational trend [] . And I agree it's an interesting model.

Re:They're called "flipped classrooms" (2)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45709055)

It does make me feel better, but- and here I am being extremely personal and not at all objective- those are MY ideas MY insight . When I saw Khan academy I just thought *what took you so long* but also *is that it? *

There's so so so much more that could be done. I am doing it. Maybe someone will get there before me but given that I've left school, had a full career, and finally turned back on what is STILL a blank space for whatever reason I think I just have to do this because surprisingly things obvious to me aren't obvious to everyone.

I get what edX doesn't. I understand where the defensible part of this business model is, and defensible by force of nature and not by fiat , and I take up my position there.

And not because I originally had that as an insight- I just knew what it was like to be an engaged learner and what the blocking issues were- but because being forcibly excluded from this whole thing, from the fun parts, I was forced back on the most basic parts of it. If someone tries this, how do they eat? How can I create actual value? What is value, exactly, precisely, abstracted away from all specifics and high minded economic ideas, what is value?

Once we've found that, what does a system of value creation built around it necessarily look like? What is it we do when we educate and how can that be served in a bare bones way that is hardened and unassailable from people with a lot of money and political clout, with the power to make laws and declare things illegal and declare things mandatory?

How can education *go out of control* so that there's no getting it back under control no matter who tries with what means?

I spent a lot of unhurried, unpressured, truth-only- please, time reading widely and getting my head around these answers since I left uni. My natural forte, my special thing is understanding what it's like to be a not-knower, to have to move molecules to learn. My personal contribution will be two fold . One part is the creation of tools that are spectacularly isomorphic to a student's actual needs, to what it's like to be a frog, as it were.

The other is a cockroach attack on the higher education model for *many* things - enough to starve the beast of customers and cash and finally bring it down. That is if it hasn't already imploded , with much hand wringing and NY Times ink being spilled you imagine .

I consider myself more or less unstoppable at this point. I grasp of unbiased reality. I have the skills to make it happen. I have the truth and I have nothing to lose. I don't care about higher education, or what happens to it or all the fine people employed by it That's a sea change for me.

In the long term I think the whole thing is going just where history is going to take it, no matter who stands in the way. It's not just fiat, historical accident and tradition driving things anymore. *It's* *all* *over* I don't know why it took ten years after the internet was full on for Khan's Academy to happen. Is at least this little bit, this smallest part not 100% obvious? I think part of the reason is the same reason I had my cord pulled at uni - anyone who could do it or is likely to do it is also strongly motivated not to do it or even see it happen. It's just no-go territory in their minds, in their imaginations. Out of the corner of their eye they get a little glimpse, and shudder.

I follow all this shit. They're trying to recreate what they have in a different form. This is Harvard and Stanford trying to preserve Harvard and Stanford as they are, nothing more. It doesn't work. They're going to burn through a bunch of money and in the end be left with nothing remarkable. They're fucking fucked, and I'm glad of it.

I know I am a troll when I show up to these stories and type as fast and as angrily as possible into these little unforgiving textboxes and gloat and sneer and mock. I know I am my smallest self. That's just what internet forums and ID s are for sometimes. Still, in all seriousness, if no one beats me to it, I am going to take them down, at least. I am going to do to them what they did to me and tens of millions just like me, and I'm going to make a buck or two - and a little history - doing it. I am unstoppable only because I position myself so as to inherit that property from reality.

Re:Not Surprising (2)

jheath314 (916607) | about 10 months ago | (#45708727)

TL:DR I got kicked out of college for videotaping the lectures without permission.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45709999)

Jesus. Sorry for you. I actually had not just permission but a contract that this would be my independent senior project. Then, one day, out of the blue for no reason given they kicked me out of the only lab capable (in those days) of processing video. The lab was "private" (they said) and if one of the PIs didn't want you there, they agreed the person was out. I never met or interacted with the PI who I was told didn't want me there. No reason was given. Nice huh? "Private" entities (a couple guys) using public money and rooms and equipment and rescinding access to people they've never met. It didn't make any sense but I am uh, make that was nothing if not a go along to get along kind of guy. Was. Was. Of course, it was all a lie, as I found out later.

At that same time they did some really despicable things which were very very highly illegal. Highly illegal, never mind bendy stretchy rules. If anyone ever tells you, or you naturally think as I did, that you aren't and couldn't be worth any individual sustained and negative and even criminal attention of a large entity because hey, you're nobody in the large scheme of things and comparatively unremarkable at any rate, you may want to consider that not everyone shares your opinion of yourself if they see you as a threat to their established revenue stream. Apparently also there are people sitting around waiting to justify their substantive paychecks who have nothing better to do than spend some quality time fucking over your life, You just never know when you've stepped on an highly sensitive, if hidden, organizational nerve .

Suffice it to say that whatever happened, I had no idea it was happening or why and I found out later only because a prof who was then only loosely associated with the school was SO disgusted with it told me in some detail. In the moment I was so stunned I couldn't even think to ask the really important questions, it seemed surreal and I wasn't sure he wasn't making it up. Only much later when the moment was gone did I think of the important questions I wanted answers to.

Believe me they've been systematically fighting this for 15 years, not less. Higher education isn't a just a bubble, it's a criminal organization intent on sustaining itself in its present form no matter what and intensely worried about it's position. There are seriously scary and completely amoral people serving as public employees in these large universities just like the ones you'd expect to find in the worst-of-the-worst corporations. We're talking The Firm style just lawlessness. No kidding. Where do you think these authors get their stuff from in the first place? An aside, sort of- the writers for Damages, it seems, based their lead character Patty Hewes on a real life attorney whose name is *just barely* different from the imaginary character and whose firm was *really* investigated by the Feds where the charges involved over 30 (!) years of corruption, kickbacks, bribery, witness tampering ob.of j., perjury and a host of other things and THOSE are the things they could prove sufficiently to b=work into the plea deal, with much worse things still strongly suspected but unproven. This is a real world highly respected law firm we're talking about with partners pleading guilty to horrendous things. This is the world of big money big egos and big institutions and you're in it whether you meant to be - or want to be- or not. Take it seriously, because they're going to take you seriously.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708137)

If you're not getting "good ol' fashioned practical experience" at least at the advanced undergraduate level (and certainly for anything beyond), then you're doing it wrong. What a brick-and-mortar university offers that MOOCs can't is stepping outside the classroom and joining the research groups of professors in areas you're interested in (alongside the theoretical classroom education component). If all you've used undergrad study for is cruising through classes to get the grade and the degree paper, then, indeed, you could've done as well with an online course (or buying fancy paper in a frame from a degree mill). However, "real practical experience" is available at every campus for students with the skill and passion to find it (and likely necessary if you want to advance to a top-tier graduate school).

Re:Not Surprising (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 10 months ago | (#45708351)

The problem is that involves all that messy, yucky face-to-face human contact. Why can't you join some open source project via the internet to get experience, or start your own?

The real problem is the assumption that employment is the goal. The goal should be the advance of knowledge and technology. Individuals can advance knowledge and technology without being employed; MOOCs should focus on that.

First, get rid of the honor code, which is designed with employers and credentials in mind. Forget the employers, concentrate instead on education and how best to get the students to advance knowledge beyond what the instructors know. Often quiz or homework questions highlight interesting problems that lead to further questions and the potential to explore much further, but the honor code effectively prevents discussions that might lead to advancement. But if employers aren't going to look at MOOC credentials anyways, why try to cater to them by enforcing an archaic honor code?

Second, encourage students to work on problems that haven't been solved. Include problems that the instructors don't know the answer to, and let students collaborate openly on the forums in trying to solve them. Take the approach rather than trying to enforce an artificial scarcity of knowledge by censoring students who want to help others solve problems on the forums.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45710249)

You're not really telling the whole story; you're painting an attractive picture which is not, let it be said, completely false either.

First not everyone , by def. can "participate" in research. PIs basically think of undergrads as a waste of their time and an impediment to their career. That's not a moral judgment (although maybe it's that also) it's a fact relayed to me numerous times by the PIs themselves. A few are tolerated but everyone doing it? Never going to happen. Are the ones who can't "join" lesser lights who didn't get the real uni experience? Fine, if you want to make that claim, as you appear to want to (please correct me if I am misrepresenting your argument) but then why should they cough up 30k a year ?

As to the fates of those who do participate in research, sure they['re interested and bright and could get unique benefits. Know what else they are? They're potential competition- to the graduate students, and to the PIs themselves. It's a war out there and no one has a real friend. I know first hand of tales of graduate students FUCKING OVER undergrads such as you describe, ruining their "careers " in embryo as it were because a smart undergrad is just a graduate student who might be more creative, smarter or just more determined than you in waiting. Not that the graduate students cited THAT reason in exactly those words , but once you've dusted yourself off and reoriented after having fallen from the pumpkin wagon, you learn to see things people aren't expressly telling you, especially the more you know those people. Everyone is always in competition with everyone else in all contexts social, academic and personal.

Survival at this level is as arbitrary as they wanna make it with gatekeepers at every juncture, at every turn who are like the scary talking doll in some nameless horror flick I once saw whose line was:

  "Hi. My name's Tiny Tina, and you better be nice to me".

You better be and you better also consider the fullest meaning of the word "nice" to include "not too competent, insightful, intelligent, creative, energetic, enthusiastic or personable."

I *think* Malcom Gladwell has recently penned something about what top tier unis do to top tier students (drives them out of the desire to contribute to their respective fields through normalizing sociopathic levels of cut throat competition).

So the picture you paint of enriching your university experience by teaming up with cutting edge researchers is really not very complete and doesn't apply to very many students and doesn't even apply to the best students or the students who would otherwise go forward and make real contributions to their fields.

For the rest of them, and this is the majority, what GOOD is the uni experience? You meet people but actually, that happens outside of the university setting and could be facilitated even more if there was a demand for such. In fact, when you look at it, any reason you can come up with why uni is esswsential or unique is really just a case of special pleading of the form "uni gives you THIS and THIS is essential!" . Perhaps uni does provide for the opportunity for THIS but there are a lot of THAT and OTHER THINGS which could also come to pass but don't because we're hung on up on THIS that the university offers, or allegedly offers.

The world and people interacting with each other towards some goal is waiting to happen in new and creative ways. When telephone and writing were the only other options for interaction then uni did offer something unique perhaps. Things are completely different now. A million new ways to "be" with someone , which aren't uni, don't have exactly uni's characteristics but have their OWN characteristics with their OWN redeeming qualities and their OWN unique benefits and engender their OWN form of togetherness understanding collaboration productivity and excitement are waiting to happen.

Talky Tina (1)

ulatekh (775985) | about 10 months ago | (#45710907)

...who are like the scary talking doll in some nameless horror flick I once saw whose line was:

"Hi. My name's Tiny Tina, and you better be nice to me".

It was "Talky Tina", and it was an episode of Twilight Zone [] .

Re:Not Surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45710933)

It sounds like you've had a particularly horrendous experience with a particularly terrible administrative culture/hierarchy at one university. I can't argue that your experience didn't happen, or that other students won't face the same. Nonetheless, please be aware that not every university (or even departments within a university, and research groups within a department) is identical to yours --- some places are quite a bit more pleasant, with ample opportunities for interested students (including strong programs to support and encourage undergraduate participation that complements rather than competes with grad student / postdoc work).

From my own undergrad experience --- no less real than yours --- meaningful undergraduate research participation was encouraged and available to anyone interested, in a laid-back and collegial atmosphere without the vicious sociopathic backstabbing. My sample size of one can't prove this is normal across all universities/departments/groups (... neither does yours), but it at least shows it is possible, and a model to emulate for providing substantial educational value beyond MOOC capabilities.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708445)

I have a similar attitude towards traditional education as well.

Don't get me wrong, learning theory in a classroom is important. But it's not a substitute for good ol' fashioned practical experience.

I agree.

The trouble with non-traditional education is that there are legal and regulatory risks to employers that can't be mitigated away.

Unless hiring is very mechanical and traditional there will be legal attacks on the process. If an employee makes a mistake and people are hurt, for example, the employer will be criticized for not hiring someone from a traditional university. If there's some concern about race or gender or ethnicity in employment, rules and standards outside the norm will be seen as specially crafted to create the discrimination.

Modern HR is, unfortunately, all about protecting the firm from lawsuits. If there is some stupid, ridiculous standard or rule it's probably there, because in a court, stupid and ridiculous people will be judging you.If the rule doesn't make sense to them, you lose.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709799)

The trouble with non-traditional education is that there are legal and regulatory risks to employers that can't be mitigated away.

Unless hiring is very mechanical and traditional there will be legal attacks on the process. If an employee makes a mistake and people are hurt, for example, the employer will be criticized for not hiring someone from a traditional university.

Employers are not protected, by law or regulation, if an employee "makes a mistake and people get hurt" regardless of the university or college from which the employee graduated. Your lack of reasoning skills is sufficient evidence that you are the perfect drone worker for many of today's businesses.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45710343)

I just don't buy this. Medical field? Maybe. Programming? Not a chance. The law distinguishes this only where the law creates an accreditation . Hair stylist spring to mind. If an employee dumps toxic waste in the river, the employer is held accountable irrespective of the qualifications or non qualifications of the employee. So also the other way.

People form guilds to gate competition. Some of those guilds have morphed into legally sanctioned licenses. Aside from that, very many CEOs were drop outs even in highly technical industries. .

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45711057)

Aside from that, very many CEOs were drop outs even in highly technical industries

A lot of CEOs aren't real bright, by "technical industry" standards. Not that IQ is a perfect measure of intelligence or aptitude, but higher-paying managerial positions are anticorrelated with intelligence relative to lower-paying technicians (see, e.g., Wikipedia on IQ [] ). Personal anecdotal experience from overlapping classes with students at a nationally top-ranked business school indicates that they are, in general, intellectually dead and dumber than a sack of rocks compared to typical non-business-school students.

It turns out being a social-climbing sociopath with "networking" connections to positions of wealth and power (i.e. being born rich) doesn't require much brains. The fact that CEOs are dropouts says less about the amazing abilities of dropouts than about a class-stratified oligarchical system that awards disastrous dumbfucks multi-million-dollar golden parachutes even for failure.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 10 months ago | (#45707193)

Indeed, that is our experience (at a university) as well.

Students taking online courses through the university are expected to be as proficient as the regular students - if they aren't we need to fail them or employers lose faith in our degrees.

If you already have a degree (or most of a degree) and a job then online courses can be a great way to augment your skillset, even if you never do the the homework watching the lectures will tell you a lot of stuff you'll need to look up and learn if a particular type of problem arises.

But actually relying on online open courses as the basis of your credentials is still problematic, and likely will always be. University degrees are in large part a trust relationship between employers and universities - our job isn't to train you for a specific job, but if you get a degree with an 80% average in computer science you should be reasonably proficient in computer science. If we let you buy your degree, or have your friends take your tests for you or the like then we may as well be some corrupt institution no one has ever heard of in Bangladesh or Nigeria.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708413)

I think what you're really selling is the assurance that graduated students will be properly submissive and conform to whatever arbitrary whims their ignorant motherfucking bosses throw at them.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45710379)

No no no that's the first 12 years of school and everything else in a child's life. By the time they're 18, they're properly broken except for the whole sex-drive thing of course, but that's what employers' 14 hour days are for, which, by the way, is an act of pure unadulterated jealousy and nothing more. Everyone in every industry knows the 8 hours beyond the first 6 only create work that has to be undone the next day.

Re:Not Surprising (-1, Flamebait)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45707689)

No, it's not surprising because none of the students had H1-B visas and were willing to work as indentured servants. That's all tech companies are interested in hiring these days.

stereo types (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708665)

I would agree to a certain extent. You look at how your typical colleges work, and student learn the same thing, there are few real new minds that come out of college.

And explain how that is any better then MOOC classes? Other then the obvious, you have a interaction with a teacher, but the teacher is the same sod as the last. They to are not really bringing anything new to classes.

Having said that, people want to know why unemployment is down. Your forcing people to go into debts for real world colleges, and they're not learning anything more. Giving someone with an online degree a internship or a 60-90 day trail in a real world work place may surprise these companies. I guess having people that may be able to think outside the box is too dangerous.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

ranton (36917) | about 10 months ago | (#45709219)

Also not surprising since they started with companies like Amazon and Google. I doubt they have any problem finding enough qualified candidates from more traditional routes.

FTFY (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 10 months ago | (#45707095)

'Existing HR departments want to go for proven degree programs and filter out unproven candidates.'"

HR department don't like to be product testers.

Re:FTFY (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45707213)

Doesn't help that it's a buyer's market. If they have 100 resumes for a position, 50 of which have degrees from brick and mortar institutes, and 50 of which have MOOC degrees, guess which 50 are going to be chopped first?

Re:FTFY (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 10 months ago | (#45708141)

The poor.

News at 11 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707097)

Students who don't show up to class don't take out millennium old college system in first try. News at 11.

I like "nontraditional" as a euphemism for "woeful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707127)

Also, "democratizing" as a euphemism for "watering-down".

Re:I like "nontraditional" as a euphemism for "woe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708471)

"Rigorous" as a euphemism for "ram the current model so far down their throats that they'll never question it, so my papers will get me tenure".

Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707171)

That summary is extremely clumsily written. "...none of them were hired failed"? What kind of gibberish is that?

And whats the big deal about filtering by which method a degree was obtained? Is a degree somehow better if its obtained by physically sitting in a classroom with 30+ other people? The content is the same, the students learn the same material to qualify them in a given field (which is what a degree certifies). Are they admitting that degrees are basically worthless, since something as trivial as whether or not you attended class physically to get your degree from a reputable university influences hiring decisions?

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45707251)

To an HR person who probably got a BA at a brick and mortar institute, yes. That said, an employer really doesn't need to know that your classes were online, so long as you have the degree. And they won't know unless you tell them. Save that discussion for the interview process.

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707451)

I don't know about your HR department, but I'm not sure that any more than 20% of the workers in ours have any higher than an Associates Degree.

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45707591)

I think the HR people are the only people in my entire office who don't have a master's degree in something. Any company I've worked for, the HR folks had at bare minimum either 20 years experience or a 4 year BA (usually in something unrelated to HR. Like marketing, or social work, or history.)

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707467)

YES. The degree is more than just a combination of skills as defined by the classes you take. A pivotal part of the university program is the peer interaction. Learning to work with, live with, socialize with is extremely important. Your ability to interact with others is quite valuable.

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707691)

Nonsense. You can interact with others with or without a degree. Degrees are merely pieces of paper, and I've found that hiring self-taught candidates leads to much, much better results than hiring the trash that comes from college (though there are good college-educated students, but that's in spite of college, not because of it).

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707741)

Peer interaction wasn't a requirement for my bachelor's degree.
I don't think I saw it in the syllabus for any of the majors.

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708243)

The "peer interaction" requirement bar is low, but not so low that some don't fail to pass it. For example, "died of alcohol poisoning during freshman orientation week" results in failure to pass interaction requirements necessary to receive a degree.

captcha: stoned

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45707719)

It seemed like a perfectly cromulent summary to me.

Re:Degrees are certifiably worthless now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45708891)

By doing a traditional degree a graduate is demonstrating that they can get good grades doing several courses at once, while also participating in extracurricular activities and drinking a lot, and stick at it for four years. They also demonstrate that they believe they are worth employing and will be able to pay of the student loans. Any actual knowledge they learn from courses is completely irrelevant.

Which is why gaining knowledge from a MOOC is worthless. MOOCs are just a recreational activity for nerds.

nose peas for gasping Aspers (1)

epine (68316) | about 10 months ago | (#45710137)

after a pilot program in which none of 868 students were hired failed

"What kind of gibberish is that?" It's unemployable gibberish. To start with:

after a pilot program failed in which none of 868 students were hired

It still sucks. No amount of rephrasing will fix it. It's trying to create an infantile shock reaction while tiptoeing around the essential factoid:

The vast majority of the students were from outside the United States, and many were working professionals.

We don't want to think, we just want to gasp at straws.

Slashdot: Nose peas for gasping Aspers, snuff that smatters

No-Sh*t, HR doesn't like change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707231)

I never go through HR to get a job. I'm a self-taught learner and HR departments don't hire my kind, I don't even make it past the first screening. Judging by the types of resumes they send me for positions I hire for, they don't seem to have much to choose from.

I suspect there are plenty of talented people that never make it past HR.

Higher ed- still looking for a business model (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707271)

Yeah now that students are wised up to the Bad Deal []

student loans are and are avoid college unless they can pay (which after decades of tuition inflation, they can't) they really have no means to support themselves except through raiding the ol' endowment , which can last at best another 7-10 years even in the case of multi-billion dollar endowments.

They can see online learning is going to rip them a new one, so thy're trying to get out ahead o fit,. now how to make money from it so things can be business as usual (hint: you can't!). Hey, maybe if we cut ourselves a slice of that Monster pie, we can keep this thing going.

Here's a dose of reality. For decades and decades you've ripped people off imposing double and triple inflation rates tuition increases with not a thought to the financial burden you were imposing on "people barely not children" and co-signing grandmas. Then you lobbied congress to make student loans unbankruptable just to keep your gravy train going. You discouraged stymied and thwarted every attempt to put your courses online or bring costs under control right up until Kahn Academy proved it was so simple it could be done by one guy with a magic marker.

Now you're all about it!

But the math still doesn't add up, does it? No , it really doesn't. You're still just fucked.

Sometimes in life, the new things just don't include the old things in any way at all.

And you thought you were bigger than history and changing times.

I just want to make sure that the state doesn't waste our precious taxpayer money making good on pension obligations when you-all go bankrupt, which can't be too soon.

Set a course for mediocrity captain! (2)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 10 months ago | (#45707365)

No one already established will take a chance on a new method or paradigm. This is why all real changes happen in smaller, lighter, hungrier companies.

No surprises there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45707429)

A traditional B&M place doesn't want to change their hiring practices for a changing labour market? Wow. Big surprise there.

Big old org's have never done well with change, especially with entrenched business practices like HR chasing after degrees instead of actual talent.

Grads of alternative programs would have better success going after jobs outside the B&M crowd anyways.

Schooling (0)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about 10 months ago | (#45707457)

Employers don't care about your education or your skills, they care about the modern school which offers nearly ritualistic schooling, and that you have it on paper.

No clear business plan (5, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 months ago | (#45707511)

As far as anyone can tell, edX is surviving on investment money (such as this one [] ). Schools join the consortium by putting up more investment money [] .

They're burning through this money with no clear business plan; specifically, they don't have a product to sell.

On top of this, edX at least seems unconcerned with the quality of their offerings. For example, their course offerings aren't searchable by keyword (that I can determine [] ), you have to slog through the entire catalog to see if they have something with, for example, "neuroscience" in the title. Having found a neuroscience course [] , the introductory video [] tells the prospective student nothing about the course - it's completely useless.

Pointing this out to them, they said that there's nothing edX can do - Harvard is responsible for that course, and edX is only being used as a marketing vehicle.

Other players are making innovative changes in infrastructure [] and technique [] . None of this is happening at edX or Coursera - it's all videotaped traditional lectures. There's nothing that distinguishes the big MOOC product in a business sense; ie, nothing that says "our product is better for *this* reason".

As an outside observer, the big MOOC players appear to be living a bubble similar to the 2001 tech bubble: lots of hype with no clear business plan.

Re:No clear business plan (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45707635)

As far as anyone can tell, edX is surviving on investment money

It's called "VC fumes".

Re:No clear business plan (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#45707933)

Investors demand that edX vacate the higher educational "market" and focus exclusively on corporate training in five... four... three... two....

US employers can't use skills testing anymore (4, Interesting)

Slugster (635830) | about 10 months ago | (#45707521)

A US Supreme Court case found that if an employer was using skills testing that resulted in racial discrimination, then they were guilty of racial discrimination if they intended to be discriminating or not:

The court case is "Griggs vs. Duke Power"
For an explanation, see- []

The only kind of testing that US companies can use now without fear of discrimination lawsuits, is educational requirements. Ridiculous but true.

Re:US employers can't use skills testing anymore (2)

Khashishi (775369) | about 10 months ago | (#45708051)

This seems to me to be a case of Duke power getting unlucky. There's probably a larger list of companies that got away with it. Every business screens its applicants. A high school degree isn't really necessary for most jobs out there, but it is a pretty good filter for fuckups.

Re:US employers can't use skills testing anymore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45709605)

Meanwhile all these filtered "fuckups" go on to become a growing and ever more insidious underclass of poverty and crime.

Great system you've got going there, can't see it working out for you.

Re:US employers can't use skills testing anymore (1)

InsightfulPlusTwo (3416699) | about 10 months ago | (#45712755)

Out of curiosity, I wonder why they just don't use race-weighted skill tests? Pick the top 1/3 white, 1/3 black, and 1/3 Asian from the skill tests. No?

Re:US employers can't use skills testing anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45718017)

Slight correction on that. " The Act requires the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment that operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of race" but does not prohibit tests that "are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance".

You might want to go actually looking into this type of claim rather than simply perpetuating an mis-informed myth.

    From the decision

We already have "democratised education" (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 10 months ago | (#45707581)

Re: “We’re taking a phased approach to head in the direction of completely democratizing education,” said Mr. Agarwal. “It’s not something you do overnight.” Yes, Mr. Agarwal, it isn't something you do overnight. Why don't you look at the democratised, publicly accountable education systems we already have in place around the world? For all their shortcomings and issues, they provide better cognitive development, instructional scaffolding, and learning outcomes than any MOOC ever has. That's where the bar is set, you're not even coming close, and are unlikely to for the foreseeable future. Education is NOT a self-organising system that you can just set up and leave to run itself. It takes considerable amounts of highly skilled intervention, guidance, and support... ...perhaps you need to hire some actual teachers instead of leaving learners to fend for themselves?

Re:We already have "democratised education" (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 10 months ago | (#45708639)

What? I got to learn neural networks from Greg Hinton, and Quantum Computation from Umesh Vazirani, and got to interact with TAs and other students much more than I did in any traditional classroom.

Gary Burton in the Jazz Improvisation MOOC noted that in classes he teaches in physical classrooms, the students rarely talk to each other outside of class. But in MOOCs there is a lot of peer interaction on the forums.

Re:We already have "democratised education" (2)

matbury (3458347) | about 10 months ago | (#45709543)

MOOCs are useful and productive to a small minority of "autodidacts" that could probably learn what they wanted to by searching the web and/or going to libraries and/or buying books anyway. Isn't that true for a lot of /. -ers? Aren't a lot of us self-taught?

The idea of MOOCs as a replacement aimed at the majority of learners simply isn't workable. For a more comprehensive view, see: []

Re:We already have "democratised education" (3, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | about 10 months ago | (#45709701)

The article makes a lot of incorrect assumptions. For example: "I’ve noticed that proponents of MOOCs tend to not be in higher education." And yet the founders of MOOCs are in higher education: Andrew Ng, Sebastian Thrun, Anant Agarwal.

Another assumption: "MOOCs rely on automated grading to evaluate student progress." There are other methods, i.e. peer review. I find reviewing others' assignments, on which I've worked myself, very educational.

The comparison to correspondence courses is misguided, since MOOCs allow for real-time interaction with other students via the forums, and immediate feedback on assignments. So while I'm interested in a question, while it's fresh in my mind and perhaps I was debating which of two answers to choose, I can get the instructor's idea of what the answer should be right away. Then if they aren't too strict about enforcing the ridiculous honor code I can challenge the instructor's idea, if I want, on the forums.

The author assumes that MOOCs can't provide "the skills that we actually want students to gain in a liberal arts environment: creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking." But I've found a lot of all three in the forums. In physical classrooms, I didn't find very much, because there were too many distractions involved with what clothes I was wearing, who was sitting next to me, not being able to see the blackboard, missing something the instructor said, waiting while the instructor erased the board, etc.

Point 3 about credentialing reinforces the idea that what universities are really selling with their degrees is the assurance that the graduated student is properly submissive to authority and will conform to whatever arbitrary, ethically-challenged commands a greedy, selfish, control-freak boss throws his way.

The article's discussion of MOOC forums is contrary to my experience. I have found very good and creative discussions in the forums, and participation by the instructors (not in all classes, but in quite a few). Some TAs are also very active and helpful and can clear up mistakes made in the videos, for example. The author's point about there not being enough qualified people in advanced topics, again, does not agree with my experience. I find that there are a lot of very advanced students taking these classes, with advanced degrees in the subject, and very willing to help others.

As for point 5, I rarely felt I got individual attention from any physical class I took. I feel much less constrained to ask questions on a discussion forum than I ever felt in a classroom or instructor's office.

In conclusion, I think you discount unfairly a lot of learners.

Meaningless experiment is meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45710917)

They took a bunch of people that had taken ONE comp sci course and threw them at companies like Google and Amazon and were shocked that no one landed a job? Are the people running edx morons?

Claimed STEM job shortage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45711039)

And yet, tech companies claim there is a job shortage ... now their true colors come out.

So they like discrimination some should sue (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45711717)

as there are nontraditional candidates who have disability who do better in more hands on learning.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?