tressiemc

some of us are brave

Sociology Paradox: Winning is Losing

Oh we kid the MOOCs around here, what with their non-research based, pedagogically unsound, sociologically ignorant form and function. But, Udacity’s tacit acknowledgement today that credentials have to be descriptive to have utility is a hollow victory.

Oh, sure, I will still have a vodka martini at news that one of the largest MOOCs will no longer offer free no-identification credentialing. How can I not? The hype was that MOOCs would overturn a hundred years of social science with a modem and a functionalist dream. MOOCs were to end race, class, and gender bias in credentialing! It would be like the Civil Rights Movement and Feminist movements and union movements had always had it wrong. Surely, sociologists — who have studied credentialing for about 70 years now — would be wrong. And then today, from Udacity’s website:

 

We have now heard from many students and employers alike that they would like to see more rigor in certifying actual accomplishments. We owe it to you, our hard working students, that we do whatever we can to ensure your certificate is as valuable as possible.  So effective May 16, we will stop offering free non-identity-verified certificates. The courseware will still be available, so you can still learn for free. But you can’t get our credentials unless you give us a chance to find out who you are and vouch for your skills. 

 

The anti-institution movement is now to become an institution. You can’t get your credentials unless you give them a chance to find out WHO you are. It’s so sociological I could do an interpretative dance to Weber’s “Class, Status, and Party” in its honor.

But, as is often the case, winning at social theory means losing as folks. Because no one would benefit more from functionalist returns to merit than would people about whom I care a great deal. But, alas, that still isn’t how we work. Udacity finally concedes it. I think Coursera has, too. Stratification wins. Yay.

About these ads

2 comments on “Sociology Paradox: Winning is Losing

  1. silverliz
    November 10, 2014

    Reblogged this on veraewatson15 and commented:
    This madness is so well put it almost makes sense. Lets give a certificate to everyone even when we have no idea if they have followed the course. Curiouser and curiouser.

  2. swo8
    April 16, 2014

    It only makes sense that to qualify someone with credentials you have to know who they are and if they have acquired the skills that were being taught. I still like the idea that the information is still free and available. To have a credit in hand requires a little more.
    Leslie

Talk back...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on April 16, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,840 other followers

%d bloggers like this: