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Jonathan Haber
Jonathan Haber is a writer/researcher (and recovering entrepreneur) who has worked in the field of educational technology. His current Degree of Freedom website ( chronicles 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 free educational resources. He is also currently writing a book on MOOCs for MIT Press.

Entries by Jonathan Haber

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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My Junior Year Lineup

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 5:13 PM

For those of you who have only recently started following my quest to learn the equivalent of a BA in philosophy in just one year using only MOOCs and other free learning resources, this effort is being documented here at Huffington Post as well as on my Degree...

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Signaling Your Learning

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2013 | 12:59 PM

Last time, I talked about some independent learners who have gone out of their way to put together their own equivalent of a college degree, much like I'm doing with my Degree of Freedom, no-cost, One Year BA program.

But one of the challenges people who...

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Independent Learners

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 12:13 PM

I've started a series of interviews on the Degree of Freedom site which so far have included discussions with the President of edX, one of the co-founders of Coursera, and this week's discussion with Scott Young, a man who did his own...

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A MOOC Backlash?

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 5:13 PM

"Faculty Backlash Grows Against Online Partnerships" announces the Chronicle of Higher Education (in a section that includes several stories on schools slowing down or halting some aspect of their involvement with MOOC-related projects). Tales of MOOC skeptics and low completion rates dot the Inside Higher Ed...

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What's a MOOC Worth?

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2013 | 2:04 PM

While I hadn't planned on writing about a single theme over at the Degree of Freedom site this week, it turns out that one developed anyway on the subject of what a MOOC is worth.

This began from an analysis of property rights derived from a...

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My Sophomore Year Lineup

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 6:31 PM

I'm now close to a month into the sophomore year of my Degree of Freedom One Year BA project (which will run from April through June), and wanted to give readers a peek at what's on the docket for the next few months.

When combined with the...

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