From an IHE article on a new online course project by Penn, Michigan, and Princeton:
Koller, an artificial intelligence specialist who has taught computer science at Stanford since getting her Ph.D. there at age 25, says that the challenge of assessing student work in humanities-oriented MOOCs could be addressed through a system of “calibrated peer review.” Human readers, plucked from the ranks of the course registrants, could read short essays written by their peers and rate them according to a rubric developed by the professor. A critical mass of deputized students should be able to evaluate an essay “at least as [well] as a pretty good [teaching assistant],” Koller said in an interview.
This could be another nail in the coffin of the current political economy of graduate humanities education. Why should universities pay TAs when the undergrads can grade themselves?
- Of course, I recognize that this is for the moment restricted to non-enrolled -- i.e., extramural -- students, but you would have to be a potential buyer of the Brooklyn Bridge not to see this as an experiment whose results will be closely monitored for its potential transfer to intramural applications.
- Replacing the current system may not be a totally bad thing...
- Will the deputized students get badges?
For connoisseurs of the genre, the rest of the article has some great management-speak: "monetization," of course, but also "metrics," and a few others:
None of the universities will offer formal credit through the courses they put online through Coursera. However, several might give students the opportunity to earn certificates bearing the names of both the universities and the company. There is no formal credentialing mechanism currently in place, but some university officials indicated that tangibly recognizing the achievements of non-enrolled learners is a goal.
“The steady-state model is: you will be able to get certificates,” Martha Pollack, a vice provost at Michigan, said in an interview.
“Since the venture is just starting, cost and certificates may be determined in the future, based on appropriate market analysis and metrics after the courses have had some time to get off the ground,” said Steve MacCarthy, vice president for university communications at Penn.
“There are no definite plans yet for what courses, if any, might have certificates and, if they exist, how much might be charged for them,” wrote MacCarthy via e-mail. “That said, if there were to be some monetization and revenues in the future, universities would partner with Coursera in determining any future structure or pricing for certificates.”
Read more at Inside Higher Ed.