Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Resistance is Futile: Forests, Lightning, MOOCs, and the Borg Complex

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A Borg Complex is exhibited by writers and pundits whenever you can sum up their message with the phrase: “Resistance is futile.”

Michael Sacasas and Aaron Bady with the latest on the MOOC Collective.

The rhetorical function of “MOOC” is this bait and switch: MOOC is a fantasy of potential, a stand-in for what could be, whose possibility makes it unnecessary to produce evidence for its plausibility. This is also why Shirky doesn’t talk about the lightning that’s destroying the rotten tree. He doesn’t talk about what will replace “College” once MOOC’s have destroyed it, or defend the proposition that a world with MOOC’s instead of colleges is a good thing. He just talks about how terrible actually existing college is. The aftermath can take care of itself; the futurologist places his faith in it, but he does not subject it to all that much scrutiny.

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  1. […] you can sum up their message with the phrase: “Resistance is futile.” —Gerry Canavan, “Resistance is futile: Forests, lightning, MOOCs, and the Borg complex,” Gerry Canavan, February 12, 2013 Earliest Citation: The bogeyman feeds some intrinsic need for […]


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