Professors worry about academic freedom and outsourced lectures

June 3, 2013

With the rising popularity of MOOCs, some colleges are taking advantage of the availability of lecture material by professors at elite universities and using them in their own classes. And while this trend is still in its infancy, some professors are raising concerns about academic freedom going forward. At Massachusetts Bay Community College and San Jose State University, professors used lecture materials and exams in order to supplement their own teachings, and both reported successes and a high degree of control over the course. But at the same time, some professors are worried that in the future, colleges will demand that specific courses use specific MOOC materials, limiting the academic freedom of the professor teaching the course. As one professor pointed out, "The MIT certificate [that you get for completing a MOOC] has a lot more value in the marketplace than three course credits at MassBay—absolutely.” Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)