Coursera is not the only for-profit company that has enlisted volunteers to provide localization. Facebook uses a similar system.
Unlike the author, I have no problem with such programs. The translators are not forced to do the work, and if they like Coursera enough to work for free, that is their choice.
As a Coursera pupil, I got this mail in my inbox recently.
And I agree translators are not forced to do the work, but I would have preferred to understand in plain words (not in US copyright wording) what rights I’m giving up when doing this work without making money out of it.
I would not use the sharecropper analogy, but I find Coursera is dishonest with their pupils.
I find Coursera is dishonest with their pupils
Dishonest in this translating issue, not in the whole MOOC concept.
I really love Coursera, and although I would prefer they curate the courses better, the value of their offering is high. And the community they’ve created is great: local study teams, support groups… really impressive.
But I think they’re being dishonest with the community (their students) with regard of this translation initiative. The way they announced the Global Translation Community, defining it as a community (a term strongly related with no economic benefit, feel good, love the humanity) is dishonest.