The Instigator
Pokemonzr
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Zf97
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) do more good than harm.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,280 times Debate No: 49518
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

Pokemonzr

Con

MOOCs have not done more good than harm because they have made discussion a challenge for students.
In MOOCs, it is impossible for professors to talk with hundreds of thousands of people, making discussion impossible and resulting negatively upon students.
MOOCs, as we have stated, normally have over 100,000 students. This makes it virtually impossible for a professor to have a discussion with each and every student, sort out their problems, and help them learn better. Also, it creates chaos in a classroom. (Source - US News) In some colleges, there is a 1 to 12 teacher to student ratio, and at some are a 1 to 100 teacher to student ratio.
(Source - katyjordan.com) MOOCs have incredibly low completion rates. For the average MOOC, only 13% of students enrolled in it actually complete it.
This argument shows that, in a MOOC, it is practically impossible to have a meaningful teacher to student discussion, possibly resulting in low grades and poor student performance.
This could be because of a number of reasons. One of them is the large sizes of the MOOCs not allowing personal teacher-student conversations. Therefore, we believe that MOOCs have not done more good than harm.
Zf97

Pro

Greetings and thank you for posting this debate I think it will be an interesting one.

I would like to argue that MOOCs are far more helpful than they are hurtful for numerous reasons. The first being that they give willing students access to information that might be otherwise unattainable. The majority of MOOCs are free and do provide quality information. There are numerous people who value the knowledge offered and want to learn any of it that they can. MOOCs give the information, even if it without optimal student teacher interaction. I would like to use an example to better prove my point. Imagine you are blind. Someone if willing to offer you a device or prescription for free that will allows you to see (something that would otherwise be unattainable). Now this device will not give you perfect vision but it will allow you to see and get you farther than you ever could on your own. Would you accept this device as something good and helpful or would you say it is harmful because it only lets you see partially and not perfectly. Of course you would want to take advantage of the sight offered even if it was limited. In the same way MOOCs offer you aid even if they do not completely resolve the problem. No one is forcing the student to choose MOOCs over a different type of education they are just available and at the disposal of those who do wish to use them to their advantage.

The second reason MOOCs are helpful is because they place more responsibility on the student. He or she must really yearn for their education and be passionate about the subject. My opponent referred to the challenge presented by MOOCs as negative, but is challenge not the basis of education and further more life in general. If a person is not challenged they will never truly excel or further their knowledge. The low completion rate does not show a flaw in the system but rather the commitment of those students willing to complete the course. If it was easy everyone would do it. But it is not the people doing easy things that are changing the world and making innovations today. Rather the true game changers are the ones who are challenged. Those who struggle and persevere through their struggles are the ones who ultimately end up being successful. As hard as it is to acknowledge, failure is a choice. One has not truly failed until they do not try again. It is the people who come up short and keep trying that are true winners. Take Edison for example he tried over nine thousand different ways to create a light bulb. However, he persevered and eventually was successful. Thus he never truly failed. MOOCs force the student to take their education more into their own hands and want to excel. The type of people who can choose to put in the extra work in order to be successful are better equipped than those who are not challenged and are not forced to make their education their own.

My opponent is focusing on one downside to MOOCs and that is that they do not offer optimal student teacher interactions. I argue, however, that this is far from enough cause for MOOCs to be deemed more harmful than helpful.
Debate Round No. 1
Pokemonzr

Con

Ok, to start off, I would like to refute your point that I am focusing on one downside to MOOCs. I am not. I was just posting a first argument to get that started; I have many more up in my sleeve.

It seems as though you are aware of the low completion rate of only 10%. You stated that this is because of the students not willing to put in extra work, as you have stated. I disagree with you. Let me explain. I believe that the extremely low completion rate is not because of the students' willpower. I believe it is the MOOCs fault. Let's use a high school as an example. In high school, there are many people who are not willing to put in the extra work, who do not want to do the work. These are the people who fail high school. But, they don't dropout. The dropout rate currently, according to dosomething.org, is 7.4% for High School. For MOOCs, it's 90%. In case you didn't notice, there's a large difference between these two numbers. I believe that the reason for this is the MOOCs fault.

MOOCs do not offer great education and offer necessarily quality information as you have stated. Their simple structure proves this. Watch a video and answer questions? Isn't that what a MOOC is? I don't see much learning involved in that. Also, in a MOOC, it is obvious that there is no one-on-one interaction with the teacher as I have stated. Your example with somebody helping the blind person is totally irrelevant to this topic for the reason that I have stated--there is little to no student-teacher interaction in a MOOC. Over 100,000 students cannot all have their questions answered by 1 teacher in a chat room. Yes, you may say that there can be message boards, forums, etc. However, there is still the overcrowding issue. Because of this issue, it may take days, or even weeks to have your question answered by a teacher.

For your second argument, I completely agree with you actually on some parts of it. It is the student's responsibility with a MOOC, however if only 10% of students are not dropping out, then there are a lot of people in this world who are lazy and have no effort to put in the work. But, think of it. A MOOC is not necessarily that much work. You don't have to drive to school, park your car, spend valuable money on gas, walk through the hallways, and things like that. You can just sit down on the couch and take your class on your computer. Anybody can do it. So, I don't believe it's that much of a problem with willpower of the students considering it requires little to no effort physically.

Here is a new argument of my own.
MOOCs have and will do more harm than good because, if they become the new thing to do, they may completely replace schools. Buildings will be gone, facilities will be gotten rid of. Universities and schools will go bankrupt being replaced by these free online courses, destroying the economy. Because of this, I believe that MOOCs are/will be harmful to society.

As you said, this will be an interesting debate. So far, it is shaping up to be. Good luck!
Zf97

Pro

My opponent has explained his or her point well. However, I still disagree greatly. Before diving into the bigger topic being debating I would like to clarify what the dropout percentage is for MOOCs in the opening argument my opponent stated that it is 13 percent however in the ladder argument it was stated to be 10 percent.

Now to discuss the points my opponent has made. One main point my opponent seems to be emphasizing is the dropout rate of MOOCs, comparing it to the dropout rate of high school. There is a flaw with this comparison however. Not all high school students have the choice of dropping out, where as one is not forced to participate in a MOOCs. It comes back to the point of the responsibility of the students. I'm willing to bet if there were no restrictions or complications involved in dropping out of normal high school the drop out rate would be significantly higher. Of course one would expect the dropout rate to be higher when dropping out is a much easier option.

Another claim made by my opponent is that "MOOCs do not offer great education and offer necessarily quality information" This is a very bold claim. I find it hard for anyone, even my opponent, to believe that the majority of MOOCs do not offer quality education. However, it was not suggested that some or even most don't, my opponent went as far as to claim that MOOCs simply don't implying all educations provided by MOOCs are lacking. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is by most accredited with being a fine educational establishment. MIT also offers an expansive list of MOOCs. It is very difficult to argue that such an institution with its resources would spend time and money producing poor educational material.

My opponent also stated "Watch a video and answer questions? Isn't that what a MOOC is? I don't see much learning involved in that. " I beg to argue that the majority of people could notice this process as learning. Is that not what learning is, watching, reading, or being taught material and then being able to answer questions that one previously couldn't. In fact the definition of what it is to learn according to Merriam-Webster is "to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something" I would argue that watching a video and answering question is clearly learning merely by definition.

Also I'm pretty sure my opponent misunderstood my analogy of the blind person being given limited vision. "Your example with somebody helping the blind person is totally irrelevant to this topic for the reason that I have stated--there is little to no student-teacher interaction in a MOOC." I would argue that the analogy is quite relevant as it can easily represent the subject at hand. I never said that this person was working one on one with you to help you see. They could be offering it free over the internet just as with MOOCs with no interaction between the actual inventor and the blind person it would still have the same effect.

There are a few more points of my opponent that I would like to discuss. My opponent said that with such a high dropout rate there must be "a lot of people in this world who are lazy" I think it is pretty widely agreed upon that there are in fact a lot of lazy people in this world. So yes with there being many lazy people in this world, I consider it wrong to place all the blame on the program offering knowledge. My opponent claims that MOOCs are " not necessarily that much work" even though he or she claimed in the opening argument that they present the student with a challenge I would like to argue that these two statements greatly contradict each other. My opponent used the example of driving to school, parking your car, and walking through hallways as proof that MOOCs do not require much work. Work, however, is not limited to the physical actions of driving and walking but also includes mental requirements and work outside of merely going to class. As previously stated, I believe MOOCs require more work because of the fact that more of the responsibility is being placed on the students shoulders. Just after saying MOOCs required little work my opponent stated that "Anybody can do it" when obviously according to my opponent himself and the higher dropout rates everybody can not do it. My opponent then went on to claim that the willpower of the students is to blame because little to no effort is required physically. I think there is a problem with this claim merely based off of the fact that willpower is mental not physical.

My opponent also brought up a new argument as to why MOOCs are harmful. "MOOCs have and will do more harm than good because, if they become the new thing to do, they may completely replace schools." I would like to argue that this is incorrect. If my opponent believes in his or her own argument that traditional educational methods are better then MOOCs then he must believe that MOOCs will not become the "new thing to do" and they will never "completely replace schools" because a large number of people will still want traditional education. Even if MOOCs do become popular I beg to argue that they will never completely replace schools for the above reason and that the chance of this happening is little to none.

This is shaping up to be quite an interesting debate, there is one small thing I ask of my opponent and that is-- if you are going to cite sources can you please provide a link instead of merely the name of the website so that I can evaluate the source myself and confirm it is trustworthy. Other than that great debate so far and good luck.
Debate Round No. 2
Pokemonzr

Con

To start out, I would just like to say... I'm screwed! But I'll try anyway. Onto the debate!

My opponent is correct on the fact that my percents have changed, however he misquoted me in a sense. They said that I said that the DROPOUT rates are 10% and 30%, however they must realize that this is the COMPLETION rate. Also, I would like to clarify that the completion rate is 13%, meaning that the dropout rate is a whopping 87%!

To refute their third statement, that MOOCs don't not provide quality education, I would like to say that my opponent took my point and carried it too far, exaggerated if you will. I simply stated that the learning style of MOOCs were simple, and do not necessarily provide the best education, however my opponent exaggerated my claim by saying that I "claim that MOOCs simply don't implying all educations provided by MOOCs are lacking". Therefore, I believe that this point, in a sense, is unjust considering he took my point and falsely built onto it.

Secondly, my opponent begged to differ with me that watching a video and answering questions is learning. Ok, I agree with them about this. In some deranged mind, this may be learning. However, it is not learning at its finest compared to a classroom. In a classroom, teachers INTERACT with the students, and simply don't show them videos all day. Therefore, MOOCs do not necessarily provide the best quality education AS COMPARED to classrooms in schools that provide actual physical interaction from teacher to student.

Another thing they said is that I misunderstood their analogy of the blind person being given limited vision, however I believe I did not, and still believe that this analogy is irrelevant. I believe this because they stated that a MOOC would have the same effect on a blind person I believe (I couldn't quite understand everything he wrote). However, think of famous blind person, say Helen Keller. Do you think she could have learned what she did from a MOOC? No! She could not have learned what she did without her teacher physically being there and touching her, helping her. Therefore, my opponent has provided an irrelevant analogy to the topic.

Next, my opponent pointed out a false contradictions between my arguments. "My opponent claims that MOOCs are " not necessarily that much work" even though he or she claimed in the opening argument that they present the student with a challenge I would like to argue that these two statements greatly contradict each other." My first argument did not at all state that MOOCs present students with a challenge. My first argument was that MOOCs make discussion a challenge, and provide little to no teacher-student interaction. Therefore, once again, my opponent has brought up something invalid.

Now, I would like to restate my arguments with fully linked sources, since my opponent asked me to provide full links so he can "evaluate the source" and "confirm it is trustworthy".

Argument 1:
MOOCs have not done more good than harm because they have made discussion a challenge for students.
In MOOCs, it is impossible for professors to talk with hundreds of thousands of people, making discussion impossible and resulting negatively upon students. MOOCs, as we have stated, normally have over 100,000 students. This makes it virtually impossible for a professor to have a discussion with each and every student, sort out their problems, and help them learn better. Also, it creates chaos in a classroom. (Source - http://www.usnews.com...) In some colleges, there is a 1 to 12 teacher to student ratio, and at some are a 1 to 100 teacher to student ratio. May I say that the 1 to 100 student-teacher ratio is not provided by that source, but is simply common knowledge. (Source - http://www.katyjordan.com...) MOOCs have incredibly low completion rates. For the average MOOC, only 13% of students enrolled in it actually complete it or less.
This argument shows that, in a MOOC, it is practically impossible to have a meaningful teacher to student discussion, possibly resulting in low grades and poor student performance. This could be because of a number of reasons. One of them is the large sizes of the MOOCs not allowing personal teacher-student conversations. Therefore, we believe that MOOCs have not done more good than harm.

Argument 2:
MOOCs have and will do more harm than good because, if they become the new thing to do, they may completely replace schools. Buildings will be gone, facilities will be gotten rid of. Universities and schools will go bankrupt being replaced by these free online courses, destroying the economy. Because of this, I believe that MOOCs are/will be harmful to society.

As I stated at the beginning, I am screwed, and I still believe that. So, wish me luck!

And, good luck to my opponent. I am sure he won't need it :)
Zf97

Pro

I would first like to apologize to my opponent for misquoting the percentages. I was meaning to say completion rate for the low percentages not dropout rate. I do understand that the dropout rate is the high percentage. However, also on the topic of percentages, in my opponent's last argument he or she brought in the number of 30 as a percent. That number is completely new to my knowledge. My opponent did clarify the completion percentage to be 13% though, I thank him for that. Again I apologize for miss quoting the percentages completely my fault.

Now onto my rebuttal and closing remarks. I'm glad both me and my opponent have come to agree that watching videos and answering questions is classified to be learning. I also agree completely with my opponent that MOOCs are not the very top tier of learning environments. However, that is not the debate at hand. The question is do they cause more harm than good. I stand by my claim that they are far more helpful than they are hurtful. However, even though they are not the absolute best they still offer a quality education (even if its not the absolute best) to those who would otherwise be unable to attain it. Just as the blind person receiving limited but not perfect sight.

Now on to this blind person analogy that is "irrelevant". Perhaps I am to blame for choosing the analogy of the blind person. I thought it could easily represent the situation at hand. I will try to explain this analogy once and for all to clarify. I believe the problem we are facing is that my opponent took the analogy to be literal when in fact it is not. It is only an analogy. I was in no way speaking of a MOOC educating a blind person. Let me explain. The blind person is symbolic of a student. This student has on knowledge of a particular subject, and thus "blind". The doctor offering treatment and the treatment itself represent the type of education being given. Since I agree with my opponent that MOOCs do not offer flawless education, let traditional, classroom-oriented learning represent perfect vision. Where as MOOCs represent partial but not perfect vision. If you off an education (sight) to a student (blind person) are they going to be excited and thankful for the partial vision (MOOCs) or are they going to consider this a bad thing. Obviously they are going to enjoy having vision at all, even if its not perfect. That was the point I was trying to make in the first place. Perhaps it is my fault if I was unclear, however, I thought it was easy to follow.

I do however, believe my opponents claim that I created false contradictions between his or her arguments is incorrect. I will again refer back to quotes to help my case. In my opponent's last argument he stated "My first argument did not at all state that MOOCs present students with a challenge." However, in his first argument he stated. " they have made discussion a challenge for students." Would making a discussion a challenge for students present students with a challenge. I would say clearly so, and thus would like to argue that I in no way conjured up false contradictions in my opponents arguments.

I would like to look at the topic at hand one last time and argue my case. Do MOOCs offer a quality education even if it is not perfect, yes. However, all systems of learning have their flaws. None are perfect. However the main question at hand here is-- Do they do more harm than good. I think the evidence speaks for itself. Clearly they do not do more harm than good. Even if they do not allow for perfect student teacher interaction I do not believe they in any way are more harmful than they are helpful. That is the soul purpose of MOOCs, to be helpful. If they weren't helpful then there wouldn't be near as much interest in them and the fear of MOOCs becoming "the new thing to do" would not exist. Therefore, I would like to argue that MOOCs are far more beneficial than they are harmful.

Too close, I would like to thank my opponent for sighting the sources for their percentages as well as for a great debate. I thought the debate was interesting and a lot can be learned from both sides. I think my opponent represented his or her argument well and was very clear with his facts. I do apologize if I was not as clear at times. This was my first debate so I am still getting the hang of it. (Blind person analogy haha) I will try to gather my thoughts more before my next debate. Either way I learned a lot about MOOCs through this debate and look forward to debating you again :)
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Pokemonzr 3 years ago
Pokemonzr
I hope somebody votes soon... Lol.
Posted by Pokemonzr 3 years ago
Pokemonzr
Zf97, I was greatly surprised when you said that this was your first debate! You did an awesome job! And me... not so much. I have it my all, but I believe I lost. However, we will see what the voters say :)
Posted by Zf97 3 years ago
Zf97
Great debate Pokemonzr. I thought it was interesting and learned a lot. Nicely done.
Posted by Jifpop09 3 years ago
Jifpop09
Source - US news. That's not the vague at all. In order to get source points, I reccomend you copy and paste the link directly, and be more specific.
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