Provost's Message

provost assanisDear Members of the Stony Brook University Community,

Recent developments in technology for digital education and the rampant emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs) are creating the perception of a game-changing, disruptive educational approach that has the potential to transform both access to education as well as the methods we use to teach our own students and the world. While many of the AAUs have jumped on the MOOC bandwagon within the past 6 months, and others are actively considering their strategy, many open issues remain. In particular, MOOC business models differ (profit vs. non-for-profit, contracts signed with institutions vs.individual professors) and range from institutional-level (eg., edX) to entrepreneurial-driven activities (e.g., Coursera and Udacity). The approaches for issuing MOOC-based credentials also vary from issuing none to granting certificates of completion, badges, and even University transfer credits based on assessment of learning.

In order to best position Stony Brook University to take advantage of the MOOCs educational approach, I am charging a joint ad-hoc task force to consider the broad spectrum of issues related to MOOCs technology, requisite investment, quality assurance, branding, credentialing, policy and impact on current academic offerings and provide actionable recommendations to formulate our long-term institutional strategy, as well as some specific short-term pursuits we should undertake.

I encourage the University community to provide its feedback and suggestions to the task force. Together we can go far.

Dennis Assanis
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs