Anyone who has met me knows that I appreciate and value honesty, even when it’s painful. I also know that not everyone feels the same way, and it’s hard to be completely honest about your research. So I was stunned today when I read the following quote in an article on MOOC research:

“It’s almost like we went through this sort of shameful period where we forgot that we were researchers and we forgot that we were scientists and instead we were just making decisions and proclamations that weren’t at all scientific,” said Mr. Siemens, an academic-technology expert at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Hype and rhetoric, not research, were the driving forces behind MOOCs, he argued. When they came onto the scene, MOOCs were not analyzed in a scientific way, and if they had been, it would have been easy to see what might actually happen and to conclude that some of the early predictions were off-base, Mr. Siemens said.

That is an amazing statement, one that I completely agree with, but one that I never expected to see in print. It gives me yet more hope that MOOC researchers are going to increasingly turn to understanding where and when MOOCs can be useful in education. I can’t wait to see what they find.

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