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Jonathan Haber
Jonathan Haber is the author of a new book on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from MIT Press. His Degree of Freedom website ( chronicled his attempt to learn everything you would get from being enrolled in a four-year, liberal arts degree program in just twelve months using only MOOCs and other free educational resources.

Entries by Jonathan Haber

Solutions to the High 'Freaking' Cost of College

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 5:15 PM

As I was saying before my house and entire family was frozen into a block of ice for two months, there are solutions to the problems I've been describing over the last several months regarding why college costs so freaking much.

If you recall, two competing theories regarding the high...

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Why College Might Cost So Freaking Much

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 1:38 PM

Over the last few weeks, I laid out two competing theories regarding why college costs so freaking much.

In this piece, I highlighted what seems to be the conventional wisdom (summed up in movies like Ivory Tower, or books like William Bennett's Is College Worth It?) which says...

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Cost Disease

(0) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 7:16 AM

I previous mentioned that the book Why Does College Cost So Much? by Robert B. Achibald and David H. Feldman provides two explanations for the inflation in higher education that buck conventional wisdom.

Their first point (mentioned last time) is that tuition discounting means that we should only...

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Tuition Discounting

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 1:31 PM

I mentioned last week that another book on the high cost of college, Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman's Why Does College Cost So Much, provides two explanations for the rising cost of post-secondary education that fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

The first explanation is...

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Blame the Schools!

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 9:56 AM

If you read enough books and articles, or watch enough news segments (or this movie) about why colleges cost so freaking much (and supposedly deliver little for the price), a consensus emerges that tends to include the following premises:

  • Every college or university is trying to be Harvard...
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Why Does College Cost So Freaking Much?

(1) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 3:42 PM

By the time I finished my Degree of Freedom One Year MOOC BA project, an educational experiment designed to see if it was possible to learn the equivalent of what someone would get from being enrolled in a traditional liberal arts BA program in twelve months at no...

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The Unmoved MOOCer

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 2:40 PM

I was amused while reading the comments associated with stories of the latest comings and goings within the Coursera and edX executive suites how many people still think MOOCs might immediately decimate the higher education landscape in order to reap insane profits for greedy top-hatted venture capitalists.


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Can iTunes U Unseat the MOOCs?

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 2:40 PM

Given the roller coaster MOOCs been on over the last 18 months, it's probably time to stop thinking about them as some sort of gold standard for independent education, and rather think of MOOCs as an inspiration to explore a broader range of free-learning alternatives.

Given that it was inspired...

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MOOCs: More Data, More Answers, More Questions

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 3:57 PM

To a certain extent, the unstated storyline associated with the two most famous MOOC statistics (100,000+ plus enrollments and 95 percent drop-out rates) never made much sense.

The implication (certainly by MOOC boosters) was that so many people hitting the enroll button on Udacity's, Coursera's or edX's website...

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A One Year BA? Perhaps

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 12:07 PM

Note: A version of the following piece appeared at my Degree of Freedom website upon the completion of my One Year BA project.

Before explaining why I think taking 32+ online courses in twelve months might be the equivalent of a four-year BA's worth of learning, I'd first...

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A MOOC BA? No Way!

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 8:37 AM

The following post synthesizes material appearing on the Degree of Freedom web site upon the completion of the author's "One Year BA" project.

Well, my Degree of Freedom project just wrapped and in order to give visibility into what that project involved, I have put together

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Hacking Homework

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 4:56 PM

"Hacking" is a verb that's attached itself to all kinds of nouns these days, generating phrases meant to imply working around standard operating procedures in order to achieve an end result as good or better (and often more quickly) than what you'd get by following the rules.

The concept obviously...

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MOOCs and Lifelong Learners

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 12:40 PM

In many of the backlash stories I wrote about recently, a certain argument seems to be repeated that asks why schools and investors should be sinking millions into creating educational resources (i.e., MOOCs) that we all know just benefit older, educated, professional (and by implication well-off, middle-class) lifelong...

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A MOOC Thought Experiment

(2) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 4:21 PM

A number of years ago, I wrote occasional pieces for a now-defunct online publication that focused on the intersection of economics, politics and culture. And while my writing centered on the culture and politics bits, my favorite economist at the journal was Arnold Kling (whose work can still be found...

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Define 'MOOC'

(3) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 2:18 PM

The author of this book on crowdsourcing took a bold move in trying to define the term in a way that would make it clear when one entity (like the t-shirt company Threadless) should be considered an example of the phenomenon while another (like Wikipedia) should...

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The MOOC Backlash -- Udacity's Pivot

(1) Comments | Posted December 2, 2013 | 1:16 PM

Wrapping up my response to the MOOC backlash (if only to allow me to return to my more comfortable role of MOOC curmudgeon), it's time to look at the biggest story that has gotten MOOC critics all a-Twitter: the decision by Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity, to "pivot" away from...

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MOOC Attrition Rates -- Running the Numbers

(4) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 8:31 AM

The prosecution against MOOCs usually starts by highlighting the huge attrition rates for massive open courses, often claimed to run as high as 90-95 percent. Who in their right mind would trust their kid's education to a program that can't even hold onto one out of ten students? Case closed.

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The MOOC Backlash -- A Response

(3) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 12:07 PM

Some demanding Senior Year classes, coupled with a senior thesis I assigned myself, have kept me from posting here recently. But having started my Degree of Freedom One Year BA project in order to provide a student perspective to MOOC boosters ready to assault the walls...

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The One Year MOOC BA -- Senior Year

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 12:58 PM

Apologies to regular Degree of Freedom readers here at Huffington Post for the long hiatus.

For those of you just tuning in, I set a goal at the beginning of the year to see if it was possible to learn the equivalent of what you'd get from being enrolled in...

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No MOOC Takers for Cheap College Credit

(2) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 4:28 PM

During the last few months, I've discussed the often loud, sometimes angry debate over whether students should receive real college credit for finishing a MOOC. But what if such credit were offered, but no one decided to take it?

There are actually a number of different mechanisms by which students...

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