California’s Experiment With Massive Online Courses Restricted To University Students


California’s radical experiment in massively open online courses (MOOCs) is not so radical anymore. San Jose State University will scale back the number of purely online courses and restrict them to enrolled students. “The goal right now is to focus on providing access to all CSU [California State University] students, including SJSU students,” San Jose State University spokesperson Patricia Harris said to me in an email.

In other words, outsiders are no longer welcome.

Over the last year, SJSU has had a bumpy partnership with MOOC provider, Udacity. Students in the on-campus equivalent courses did significantly better than their online counterparts in the Spring 2013 pilot, but were roughly equivalent during the following Summer semester (graph below). Comparisons were difficult, since the Spring semester was brand new and admitted non-SJSU students, but Summer’s class was generally older and more educated.


The highly controversial low-cost program seems to tearing apart the…

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