Considering this question posed by Mike Caulfield:
But if we’re wondering why education is so resistant to technological change maybe it’s time to look at how our use of cheap labor enables that resistance? (Source)
-i am reminded of my recent experience of a MOOC offered by Coursera, and what struck me as a breakthrough that made the whole thing fly in terms of both student experience AND institutional economics.
The key? As Coursera CEO Daphne Koller explains in her 2012 TED Talk -relevant info at mark 11’13” in the transcript- it is Peer Grading.
I for one had my doubts about this, until experiencing it myself as a student in their course on learning how to code 2D arcade games (from primitive Pong to classic Asteroids -my personal fave 🙂 in Python. Course design was great, collateral material (videos, online GUI builder, etc) all top-notch… But probably the most educational aspect of the experience for me was reviewing evaluations of my projects submitted by student peers, and reviewing the 5 peer projects i had to grade each time i submitted one of my own, before i could harvest any peer feedback.
So, although it was probably the cost of one-to-one tutorial feedback (on stuff that is not machine-gradable) that held back the state of the art for so long, this way of leveraging student labor-power for free was pretty ingenious (“evil genius,” one might even say, considering that it was almost a form of blackmail! :-).