Emory has joined Coursera

From The Wall Street Journal: Emory and 17 other universities have signed a deal with Coursera, a for-profit company that provides an online platform for college courses. Anyone can enroll in a so-called Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), but whether colleges will grant credit for them is still an open question.

This move isn’t directly related to Emory’s restructuring, but it does raise questions about the many permutations of digital scholarship, not to mention the profit motive that looms over the way we discuss education and access in general. From the WSJ:

Although the company has no firm deadline for turning a profit, Coursera is weighing options, including charging for certificates or selling student data to recruiters, said co-founder Andrew Ng.

Tressie MC, a PhD student in sociology who has written extensively on the for-profit college industry, writes:

I’d like to be excited about transformation that connects universities with actual people in their actual communities. I’d like to see Emory U learning centers in Edgewood, Kirkwood, Downtown community centers. I’d like to see us producing the kind of community-minded educational leaders who will imagine a transformation of education that isn’t predicated on expensive tablets, high speed wireless access, or social capital. [Full post]

Edit to add: And now there’s this:

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