Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013

Department 1



Media representations of massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as those offered by Coursera, edX and Udacity reflect tension and ambiguity in their bold promise of democratized education and global knowledge sharing. An approach to MOOCs that emphasizes the tacit epistemology of such representations suggests a richer account of the ambiguities of MOOCs, the unsettled linguistic and visual representations that reflect the strange lifeworld of global online courses and the pressing need for promising innovation that seeks to serve the restless global desire for knowledge. This perspective piece critically appraises the linguistic laboratory of thought such representation reveals and its destabilized rhetoric of technology and educational practice. The mobile knowledge of MOOCs, detached from context and educational purpose and indifferent to cultural boundary distortions, contains both the promise of democratized education and the shadow of post-colonial knowledge export.

Required Publisher's Statement

Original version is available from the publisher at: