Authors of ‘Bill of Rights’ for Online Learners Face Criticism

January 25, 2013

The academics and technologists who drafted a recently released “bill of rights” for students taking online courses said they hoped the document would serve as a foundation for a broader conversation about how learners and institutions might protect themselves from exploitation. But since it hit the Web on Wednesday, the document, “A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age,” has drawn skepticism—including from academic activists who would have made useful allies. “It’s pretty top-down and manipulative,” Stephen Downes, an academic technologist who helped pioneer the earliest massive open online courses, wrote in his widely circulated newsletter.