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Jonathan Haber
Jonathan Haber is an educational researcher, writer and recovering entrepreneur working in the field of technology-enabled learning and teacher education. His latest book, Critical Voter, uses election politics to teach critical thinking skills.

His Degree of Freedom One Year BA project, which involved trying to learn the equivalent of a BA in just twelve months using only Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other forms of free learning, has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal and other major media sources.

Entries by Jonathan Haber

The Coin Toss Caucus

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2016 | 6:59 AM

Those of you who managed to make it to Chapter 8 of Critical Voter are no doubt joining me in a chuckle over the controversy surrounding the Iowa Caucuses being decided by a half dozen coin flips.

"Foul!" cried many who were unhappy with the result, not because...

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Trump's Loss in Iowa -- 2500 Years in the Making

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 12:12 AM

As the Interwebs fill with theories regarding why Donald Trump did not pull off a predicted win in Iowa (from his vulgar blustering finally catching up with him to his falling prey to a conspiracy of "Establishment Republicans" and the "Liberal Media"), I'd like to propose a far more fundamental...

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What's Wrong with Donald Trump (and his Critics)?

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2016 | 8:18 AM

When I told friends, colleagues and family members that I was turning Critical Voter, a curriculum that used the last Presidential election as a springboard to teach critical thinking skills, into a general purpose book, most of the questions I received had to do with what I thought...

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Solutions to the High 'Freaking' Cost of College

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 6:15 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 | 2:38 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 | 8:16 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 | 2:31 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 | 10:56 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 | 4:42 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 | 3:40 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 | 3:40 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 | 4:57 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 | 1:07 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 | 9:37 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 | 5:56 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 | 1:40 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 | 5:21 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 | 3:18 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 | 2:16 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 | 9:31 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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