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Education Your Rights Online

How MOOC Faculty Exploit People's Desire To Learn 115

RichDiesal writes "Just as businesses try to make something off of massively online open courses (MOOCs), so do the faculty running them. But instead of seeking money, MOOC faculty seek something far more valuable: a cheap source of data for social science research. Unfortunately, the rights of research participants are sometimes ignored in MOOCs, and successful completion of courses are sometimes held hostage in exchange for mandatory participation in research, as in this case study of a Coursera MOOC. Such behavior is not tolerated in "real" college courses, so why is it tolerated in MOOCs taught by the same faculty?"
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How MOOC Faculty Exploit People's Desire To Learn

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  • by immaterial ( 1520413 ) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @04:28PM (#45450037)
    Because you also had the alternative option of writing an essay, or some such thing (but the experiments were far more interesting than writing yet another essay; who'd choose an essay?). I've never seen a psych department that doesn't offer alternatives, for this very reason. You can't force participation.
  • Re:Sounds . . . (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 17, 2013 @04:30PM (#45450049)

    Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind

    He writes and sells books -
    MOOC's bypass the need for the books he sells.

  • Re:Sounds . . . (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <[tms] [at] []> on Sunday November 17, 2013 @05:22PM (#45450319) Homepage

    Sounds like somebody has an axe to grind

    Good. Grind it to a fine edge and cut these fraudulent mofos down. MOOCs in general are 90% scam, nothing more than taking the old idea of a correspondence course and adding the phrase "...on the inernet!", and this one specifically is clearly engaging in unethical behavior:

    For example, in Week 4, the assignment was to complete this research study [link to a SurveyGizmo questionnaire about your gaming habits], which was not linked with any learning objectives in that week (at least in any way indicated to students). If you didn't complete the research study, you earned a zero for the assignment. There was no apparent way around it.

    In my experience on one of the human subjects review boards at my university, I can tell you emphatically that this would not be considered an ethical course design choice in a real college classroom.

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