Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology & Associate Professor at Royal Roads University

Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought MOOC & open course transparency


Posted on November 25th, by George Veletsianos in moocs, my research, open, sharing. 3 comments

The New York Times published an article on an edX course (Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought) offered by Tsinghua University. Inside Higher Ed (IHE) wrote about it, too. The following quote from IHE articles summarizes the articles:

“That course is raising eyebrows because, despite hours of video lectures and supplemental material in the course, students would still have to tab over to Wikipedia to learn about the millions who died as a result of Mao’s land reforms or that his economic initiatives led to what may have been the greatest famine in human history, which killed tens of millions. Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought references those events glancingly in passing as “mistakes,” and generally heaps praise on Mao and his philosophies.”

I was asked to provide commentary for the New York Times article, and since it wasn’t included in the writeup, I thought it would be a good idea to share it publicly rather than leave it hidden away in my email inbox. Here is what I said:

Open courses are transparent, and that’s one of their positive aspects. They allow anyone to examine the ways that course creators think about a topic. The instructional materials from the Mao course are available to anyone to examine and study. One can look at the materials and ask: How do these materials position Mao Zedong? What are the elements of Mao’s thought that the creators of this course want to highlight? What elements of Mao’s thoughts are left behind and what are the elements that are being highlighted? What is the story that is being told here, and who stands to benefit from this story?

Stephen Downes made a similar argument in the IHE article: ““courses that might have been offered behind closed doors are offered for everyone to see.”

Now, that’s parsimonious :)

 





3 thoughts on “Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought MOOC & open course transparency

  1. I was also asked for comment about this, by IHE. I said the same, but also that some other parts of the process were kept opaque. How was this course selected? Why was it hosted on edx? (the NYT adds information in that respect). I also commented that the MOOC platform itself can intrinsically embody a certain view of education, that others have likened to an ideology (Watters: Californian, Morozov: neoliberal).

  2. Pingback: Hack Education Weekly News | Co-Opt-Ed

  3. Pingback: Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015: Beyond the MOOC | Co-Opt-Ed

Leave a Reply to Paul-Olivier Dehaye Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *