Humanities scholars must find middle ground with MOOCs: BrockU professor

August 20, 2014

A Brock University Professor Emeritus considers the impact of massive open online courses (MOOCs) on humanities education in an op-ed published in the Globe and Mail. John Sainsbury says that if the humanities are to weather the proliferation of MOOCs in PSE, discipline and smart thinking will be required. “Those teaching in the humanities must negotiate a steady course between the bafflegab of the technophiles and the blinkered defeatism of the technophobes,” Sainsbury writes. He notes that technology has the ability to provide “a window to a cornucopia of riches,” such as the British Library’s illuminated manuscript collection. However, he adds that an Internet chatroom is a poor substitute for face-to-face dialogue. Sainsbury advises humanities scholars to strive for better understanding of the limitations and benefits of MOOCs in order to better advocate for a middle way, such as the inclusion of a monthly, face-to-face seminar in an otherwise digital course. Globe and Mail