From MOOC to SMOC?

The last couple of weeks have been rife with debate over the fate of MOOCs (see here; .

Will they or won’t they survive? Will they find a viable business model? Will universities embrace them or reject them? The failure of MOOCs, the threat of MOOCs, the future of MOOCs – all that would lead casual observers to think that digital scholarship and learning is defined by the massive open and free definition of the MOOCs.

There are alternatives to the model, and the online class I taught this summer with the support, help and expertise of Steve Anderson (TA) and Ava Arndt (ID) is one of those examples. We made the online class small, and we made it good. We made it interactive, we made multi-dimensional, it was engaging and it was a teaching and learning success. Previous posts in this blog and on Steven G. Anderson’s blog discussed in detail what we did. We’ll make the class bigger in the Spring quarter, and it’ll still be good.

So maybe it is time to put the MOOC debate to bed, and start talking about our SMOC (Scalable Managed Online Course) or what Cathy Davidson and Dan Ariely are doing with SPOCs (Self Paced Open Course) – see more about this at

The world of online education is way bigger and more interesting than this MOOC debate. MOOCs have a place and purpose in life-long learning, but the MOOCverse is too small to encompass all that is happening in the universe of online education.

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