I have refrained from writing about the OUs new MOOC platform, Future Learn, because of what I wrote about the OU in October. I honestly did think that the OU had the potential to be a real game changer in massive online learning world. I still believe that, but the announcement of Future Learn, and the UK partners in the venture was disappointing. I think that the OU has cheapened their teaching reputation amongst academics by selecting partners for their reputations (built on research) rather than selecting partners based on teaching expertise.
It was only a few years ago that these same institutions were belittling the the OU and teaching quality measures resulting from official quality inspections, because they didn’t come out as well as they thought they should.
I think Stephen Downes hit the nail on the head by saying that, in todays HE world, the best are those who are best marketed, and the quality of teaching isn’t really considered. The quality inspections for universities in place today are more about the paperwork, processes, and procedures than about the quality of teaching and learning, so it is difficult to do poorly. The teaching and learning strategies for most universities talk about widening participation, employability and internationalisation rather than teaching and learning. Teaching and learning in HE is becoming less and less about teaching and learning. So far, Future Learn is about impression rather than substance.
I still hope that the OU will use the institutional wisdom accumulated over the years to transform education in the digital world, but I find my faith flagging a bit.