Maureen Mcclure - Publications
Faculty - Director IISE

Book Chapters

McClure, M.W. (2019). MOOCs, students, higher education and their paradoxes. Preparing students for life and work: Policies and reforms affecting higher education's principal mission. W. Archer and H. G. Schuetze (Eds.). Leiden: Brill. (pp.157-178).
Primarily a European interest. While Americans tend to focus on the importance of preparation for work, and sometimes include civic education, others take a broader view of education is first sabout the quality of one's own life as well as the and its experiences outranks the other two. This liberal arts view has fallen out of favor in many places in the US (insufficiently lucrative?), but ragtag holdouts remain. I consider myself lucky to know these higher education intellectuals.


McClure, M. W. & V. Krekanova. (2018). More trouble ahead for public school finance: The implications of generational change in Pennsylvania. Commonwealth Year in Review. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
This is not a new publication. The journal article was well received, and was selected for the Commonwealth Year in Review this year. It is a printed book available for course adoptions.
McClure, M. W. 2016, February. Investing in MOOCs: "Frenemy" Risk and Information Quality. (Invited). D. Zajda and V. Rust. Globalisation, Comparative Education and Policy Research. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Examines growing problems of MOOCs, structural risk and poor information quality.

McClure, M.W. (2015). MOOCs: Hype or hope: Conflicting narratives in higher education policy. Higher education reforms: Looking back- looking forward: Proceedings from the 10th International Workshop on Higher Education Reform. P. Zgaga, U. Teichler & H. G. Schuetze, eds. (Higher Education and Policy Series) Bern: Peter Lang .

To say the world of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is changing rapidly is not news. What is news is how rapidly the field is evolving and in how many simultaneous and conflicting strategic directions. New narratives and counter-narratives are moving the field too rapidly and in too many conflicting ways to be easily captured by traditional policy research methods. This means a shift toward semi-structured methods of rapid data collection and policy analysis. This shift uses, for example, medium quality materials such as credible journalists and bloggers and not less credible Internet data.


McClure, M.W. (2018). Reframing education finance: Super wickedness, silver bullets, and educational inheritance. Voices of reform. 1(1), 157-178.
McClure, M. W. (2014). MOOCs, Wicked Problems, and the Spirit of the Liberal Arts. The Journal of General Education 63(4), 269-286. Penn State University Press

Higher education institutions today are increasingly considered to be “means,” serving as suppliers for employers, not “ends” that address “wicked” problems. This disregards their role in the generational succession of civil societies. Massive open online courses can strengthen higher education institutions by working with and not against liberal arts traditions.

McClure, M. W. (2013). “MOOCs: Hope and hype in viral technologies and policies.” Excellence in Higher Education. 4(1), pp. 7-24. doi: 10.5195/ehe.2013.83.
Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs have emerged in the last couple of years as Internet-based vehicles for providing low cost global access to quality education. They come in two basic forms: expert and self--organizing. The dominant model provides access to expertise through centralized software platforms with expert­­––designed short lecture videos, reading materials, discussion forums and a strong emphasis on measurable assessments. Self--organizing models focus on problems that may be too new for well--developed expertise, but are too important to ignore. Startup costs for courses range widely and are not insignificant. Benefits included a greatly expanded global reach and traditional courses strengthened by blended learning. Their rapid (viral) growth has resulted in “viral policies” created by administrators and others who feel under competitive pressure to act quickly. Backlash takes the form of faculty resistance to accepting MOOCs as course credits and as yet unresolved problems with assessment procedures such as cheating and peer review. MOOC interest is growing internationally, opening new opportunities for international partnerships. While low course completion rates remains problematic, this emerging ‘viral’ technology is likely to influence ‘viral policies’ in higher education for some time to come. More


McClure, M. W. (in press). Morphing MOOCs: How will new purposes, formats and entrants contribute to HER? Higher Education and its Principal Mission: Preparing Students for Life, Work and Civic Engagement. Proceedings from the 11th International Workshop on Higher Education Reforms (HER). St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have often been reported in the media as 1) new, 2) monolithic and 3) inevitable. The current narrative suggests this technology developed ab nihilo, independently from the histories and larger contexts of technology and education. None of this is true. It is a shibboleth, left over from 2012, when the US media first discovered elite expert MOOCs, and ignored their historical contexts. As a consequence, interpretations of their success and value have been consistently wide of the mark.

This is important for higher education institutions (HEIs) because if the strategic narratives are not well formed, then planning decisions can be difficult. This paper exams two narratives of MOOC development. The first narrative focused on the democratization of content. It basically followed two different traditional models. The first developed around concepts of self-directed, peer cooperation. The other developed around concepts of access to elite expertise. Both approaches have generated benefits, costs and risks to HEIs.

The second narrative of MOOC development focused on the democratization of platforms or delivery systems. It tracked the rapid development of technology in apparently contradictory directions: concentration, decentralization, standardization and personalization. As delivery systems, MOOCs are part of the much larger online education movement rooted in distance education. Institutional planners may have difficulty keeping up with the rapid development of opportunities and threats in both areas.


ASHE reader on economics and finance in higher education. (in press). Weidman, J. C., Yeager, J. L., Cohen, L., DeAngelo, L. T., DeLuca, K. M., Gunzenhauser, M. G., Jacob, W. J., McClure, M.W., & Sutin, S.E.
in press
Higher education has been increasing in financial complexity with the addition of new arrangements, such as specialized alliances between higher education and industry, joint ventures, spin-off ventures, and new methods of financing residence halls, retirement communities and equipment. The continued competition among social sector entities for both public and expenditure, coupled with increasing demand for higher education at all levels, has resulted in expanded public oversight and demands for accountability. Consequently, greater understanding of all aspects of financing and financial management (past and present as well as projected future) will be required in order to maintain a strong higher education sector. The Reader is intended to serve as a primary resource for scholars and practitioners to support of activities as teaching, conducting research, and policy development in the areas of higher education economics and finance.


McClure, M. W. (2013). "MOOCs: Hype or hype: Conflicting narratives in higher education policy." Higher education reforms: Looking back- looking forward. 10th International Proceedings on Higher Education Reform (pp. 159-171). University of Ljubljana.

That the world of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is rapidly evolving is not news. What is news are the directions of this evolution. In their first major year in the US, 2012, the media narratives presented them as both monolithic and emerging like Athena, fully formed from the head of Stanford engineering professors (Marginson 2012). MOOCs were a new technology destined to disrupt the structures of universities built over centuries (Fain 2012). Progressive technological advancements were assumed to be unilateral, rendering them impervious to the power of the past (Pappano 2012). By 2013, the backlash had set in. The bloom was off the rose; results did not meet expectations; the conquering hero vanquished; and disappointment was now inevitable (Anderson 2012; Azavedo 2012). It took less than a year to move from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. The problem is that neither narrative accurately reflects the development of the MOOC movement (McClure 2013).


McClure, M.W. 2013. Commentary: Charter School policies could have adverse effect on future generations Vol. 32, No. 38, April 5-11, p. 42.
The problem with charter schools in Pennsylvania is with the way they are funded. Unlike public schools whose costs are managed by an elected school board, charter schools are not paid by the state according to their costs at all. They are paid instead by the costs of the sending school district. This means that a single charter school classroom could, for example, have some students paying say $10,000 in 'tuition' and the child in the next seat, with no perceivable difference in services can be paying almost twice as much. Charter schools were touted as a competitive answer to the high costs of public education. If so, then they need to start being paid market prices.
Maureen Mcclure


University of Pittsburgh
5711 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260