Distressed at the thought that Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, could do to them what the internet has done to newspaper reporters, academics are lobbying state legislators to urge them to avoid considering them for use in state universities.
Anticipating the prospect that state solons would be impressed at the prospect of delivering more knowledge at a lower cost than bricks and mortar universities entail, on Academe.org, the web site maintained by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Martin Kich  has posted a sample letter to a state legislator. Kich teaches at Wright State University in Ohio.
He does offer one piece of useful, albeit partial, information about MOOCs not widely broadcast, particularly by the companies that churn them out: “Completion rates for most MOOCs have ranged between 1% and 9%–and those numbers simply mean that that percentage of students opened all of the course modules, not that they received a passing grade for the courses.”
Nevertheless, the remainder of the letter is a string of assertions, although it does contain one very revealing one: “MOOCs will most likely be offered as substitutes for site-delivered general education or core courses. Those courses are not only the largest revenue producers for most colleges and universities, they are also the most dependable revenue producers. They support departmental offerings at the junior-, senior-, and graduate levels, at which enrollments are always lower. In short, they make it possible for our colleges and universities to maintain degree programs.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .