Technological advancement in today’s generation paved the way for innovative transformations that immensely improved people’s lives. The changes in the educational sphere was aptly captured by Kevin Carey in his article entitled, “Into the Future with MOOCs”. The article is replete with assertions pertinent to the increased proliferation of massive open online courses, or MOOCs . Carey was identified as a “director of the education-policy program at the New America Foundation” . In his professional capacity, the experience makes him immensely competent and qualified to provide a viable and objective discourse on the subject matter. Moreover, at the time that the article was published, in 2012, statistics revealed that the number of MOOCs started with only 3 courses and has now reportedly reached to 2,400 courses as of 2015 . The current discourse hereby presents a rhetorical analysis of Carey’s contentions that MOOCs would definitely make a revolutionary transformation in contemporary academic approach.
Concurrently, the article was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education (The Chronicle) which boasts of its authoritativeness in terms of disseminating information pertaining to university issues and concerns. As noted, “in 2007 The Chronicle was ranked in the 10 most credible news sources by Erdos & Morgan, a widely used survey of thought leaders in the United States” . Therefore, the information disclosed by Carey is deemed to be credible and reliable by virtue of the expertise of the author, as well as the authoritative nature of the source.
The logical structure of the article is deemed to be effective and clear. Carey started with a narrative discourse of a personal academic experience to assert that attendance (or non-attendance) to traditional classroom setting courses enable students to generate needed credits through focused cramming. With the effective opening story that captured the attention of readers, Carey asserted students facing the controversial issue of accreditation of courses for universities offering MOOCs then. As noted, “the online students received no official academic credits of any kind” . As such, Carey explicitly averred that the situation was not logically rationalized.
The supporting arguments presented by Carey attempted to validate the insensibility of not being able to accredit MOOCs. One point duly noted was the acknowledgement of reputable universities to join the bandwagon of offering MOOCs. The author clearly used factual information, to wit: “the online Rubicon wasn't truly crossed until Harvard, which had been studiously ignoring the free online course movement, jumped aboard the bandwagon to become a partner in MIT's MOOC venture, edX” . As asserted, Carey acknowledged that to completely confirm entrenched and universal acceptance to MOOCs, the issues on crediting these courses, ensuring high quality of education, as well as considering any financial components, should be addressed. Further, other relevant concerns that apparently preclude complete acceptance of MOOCs include security and integrity, cost components, as well as the services that should support online learning. The depth of analytical issues that need to be resolved to further accept MOOCs as viable learning approach has been effectively presented in an objective and unbiased manner.
Though most of the supporting arguments used by Carey focused on using logos or logical reasoning, some touches of pathos were also noted. An attempt to use humor as an emotional element of appeal was first established when, as a student attending the orientation course for the “Principles in Microeconomics” course, the comment was indicated herewith: “I may or may not have waited until the hour ended before walking out the back door of Lecture Hall 1 toward the nearest bar” . Likewise, Carey also used loaded language to capture the readers’ attention: “don't let the silly-sounding moniker fool you” ; “that kind of crazy cognitive dissonance can't last forever” ; to name a few. Despite the position as a director of an educational institution program, it was evident that Carey uses down-to-earth language to entice emotional appeal and elicit the needed response from the readers.
In terms of the writing style used by Carey, it was commendable that clear and straightforward language was used. The style enabled readers from various educational backgrounds and fields of discipline to comprehensively understand the message that was written. The use of pathos, which complemented logos, was therefore effective in emphasizing relevant arguments, as well as enforcing main points that need to be imbibed. Moreover, deciding to publish the article in The Chronicle, acknowledged to be one of the most reputable, reliable, and authoritative sources of information disclosing current and future issues on higher education, added to the credibility of the arguments that were presented. Likewise, there were no jargons or technical terms that were used.
In retrospect, the integration of a personal academic experience brought the discourse to similar levels that contemporary students experience; making understanding of Carey’s contentions more plausible and realistic. The author evidently used and adhered to the STAR criteria, where the evidences for arguments were sufficient, typical, accurate, and relevant. The opening narrative story was sufficient to capture the attention of the readers and enable sustaining the development of supporting arguments in an effectively structured manner. The logical reasoning through citing facts and information about MOOCs, as well as the famous universities that joined the bandwagon are typical support. In terms of accuracy of information, the author could have made improvements in terms of providing relevant statistics on the forecasted growth of MOOCs. By the time the article was written, the number of courses started and scheduled as of September 2012 were already 43, or almost a 133% increase from the start off point . In addition, the relevance of the arguments were affirmed to include urgent issues and concerns that were identified to apparently add to the popularity of MOOCs.
In sum, Carey’s concluding remarks summed his contentions, to wit: “colleges of all kinds will need to re-examine exactly what value they provide to students, what it costs, and what price the market will bear” . To lure students and parents in veering towards MOOCs, the issues noted should, indeed, be appropriately addressed. As such, the information disseminated in the article provide appropriate starting points for considering MOOCs as alternative instructional approach – or as sole medium for educational pursuit. Additional academic sources of information should assist the readers in making informed decision on the matter.
Carey, Kevin. "Into the Future With MOOC's." 3 September 2012. The Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/article/Into-the-Future-With-MOOCs/134080/. 28 June 2015.
Shah, Dhawal. "Online Courses Raise Their Game: A Review of MOOC Stats and Trends in 2014." 27 December 2014. Class Central. https://www.class-central.com/report/moocs-stats-and-trends-2014/. 28 June 2015.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. "About The Chronicle." 2015. The Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/section/About-the-Chronicle/83. 28 June 2015.