MOOCs: Cash Cows or Content Curation Systems?

by: Ioana Literat, George Carstocea, Ash Kramer

A reflection on the MOOC debate in higher education, this post was written in the context of Prof. Virginia Kuhn’s graduate seminar, IML 555: Digital Pedagogies, at the Institute for Multimedia Literacy, University of Southern California. As students in this class, a key element of our research project was enrolling in a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) – Coursera’s E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC (January-March 2013) – and reflecting on the educational, pedagogical, and ethical dimensions of such learning environments. Our thoughts below are thus shaped by this experience, as well as by the stimulating discussions that we’ve been having throughout the semester in class.

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The Early Days of the Digital Dissertation

This is a guest post by Virginia Kuhn, associate director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy in the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. Her article, “Embrace and Ambivalence,” appears in the newest issue of Academe.

Digital dissertations are sometimes said to be commonplace; however such talk usually refers to an artifact that is digital but is not dependent on being digital. In other words, it could also have been published on paper without losing anything in the translation.  My research uncovered only one previous dissertation that was media-rich and born-digital: Christine Boese’s The Ballad of the Internet Nutball: Chaining Rhetorical Visions from the Margins of the Margins to the Mainstream in the Xenaverse which she defended at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1998. Unsurprisingly, Chris earned her doctorate in rhetoric, as I did. Also unsurprisingly, her rationale for this approach was quite similar: for a project to be justifiably digital, it must achieve goals that could not be realized otherwise. Continue reading