Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Meet the professors - An interview with Carlos Martinez

A university professor at El Salvador's only public university has been advocating the use of MOOCs to colleagues and students alike and launched a blog to document the adventure.
The Good MOOC interviews Professor Carlos Martinez.

  • Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Carlos Martínez. I am a professor in the Electrical Engineering department at the University of El Salvador.

  • Can you describe how you first heard about MOOCs?

A former student of mine sent me an email. The rest is history.

  • How and why did you decide to start advocating for MOOCs at your university without going through the administration?

MOOCs do not need intermediaries. They are open, free and available on the web. There is no need to listen to a University president or a high ranking burocrat to tell you MOOCs are good. I have not ignored them, I have talked to them. But the good thing has been we do not need their influence to move ahead.

  • How do you see MOOCs and higher education going in the future?

We still do not know how the future will be. At this very moment I am trying to introduce the trojan horse approach. Little by little other professors are studying some courses, edX plataform seems to be more atractive to our staff. More students at our department are getting the skills to study online courses. With a little training they could become in first generation instructors.

  • In MIT Technology Review, you are quoted as saying: "The youngest professors can face the change. The older ones, I think it’s impossible.". A lot of criticism of MOOCs now seems to be coming from professors afraid for their jobs, what's your take on that?

I still do not see professors in my university feeling any kind of threatened. Perhaps, in the US where universities are under economic pressure (sometimes due to competitiveness among themselves), professors could see a danger in losing their jobs.

  • Which are you favourite MOOCs and why?

Edx, MITx courses are the ones we have studied the most.

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