Coursera under fire in MOOCs licensing row


A prominent member of the open education movement, former Open University Vice-Chancellor Sir John Daniel, has criticised online education provider Coursera for not making its materials available under creative commons licensing.

Coursera is one of the largest providers of MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – which allow students to take university courses for free online from anywhere in the world.

MOOCs have been credited with democratising higher education, making it available for those who cannot afford to attend prestigious universities. But providers like Coursera have come under fire in recent months for undermining academic jobs, not providing adequate accreditation, and, in this latest controversy, not adhering closely enough to the “open” part of the MOOC acronym.

Sir John told the Worldviews Higher Education and Media conference in Toronto that the open education movement far pre-dated MOOCs, and the aims of each were not necessarily the same.

“While MOOCs have open enrolment, many of the MOOCs offered through commercial partners do not have open licences,” he said.

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