Who is accountable at Coursera?Posted: November 7, 2012
Coursera wants to be the Google of the education world. You can’t complain about your email if the email is free, right? And the same thing holds true with their courses.
So when things like this happen in the course I am taking, where the exact answers to pass the final are revealed by mistake during the process of taking the final, it’s just a bug. These things happen, right?
But think this through in light of the “let’s transfer MOOC credit in” model that schools like Antioch are looking at.
Think about Antioch’s options. They could transfer in this course, only to find out that passing it was trivially easy, and demonstrated no real aptitude in economics.
In that case, the Antioch brand is damaged. A credit transfer system is only as strong as its weakest link.
Alternatively, Antioch could hear about the snafu, and refuse to transfer this credit in. But in that case a bunch of students took a class for four weeks expecting to get credit only to find out that they are not going to get any credit because Coursera made a technical error. Four weeks of work down the drain.
The only thing that Coursera is offering that extends much beyond straight up OCW is an assessment framework. If they can’t guarantee that — or if they don’t at least freak out about its failures — why would you ever transfer in MOOC credit without additional assessment?
And yes, this is partially an argument for why all xMOOC credit should be wrapped in a layer of authentic institutional assessment, if only to protect the value of your degree.
But it’s also a straight up question — who at Coursera is accountable? And to whom?