Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Tuesday MOOCs, and More!

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* Professor Leaves a MOOC in Mid-Course in Dispute Over Teaching. The details on this are fascinating:

Gary Matkin, the dean for distance education at Irvine, said the problem had stemmed from Mr. McKenzie’s reluctance to loosen his grip on students who he thought were not learning well in the course.“

In Professor McKenzie’s view, for instance, uninformed or superfluous responses to the questions posed in the discussion forums hobbled the serious students in their learning,” said Mr. Matkin in an e-mail.

Irvine officials, however, “felt that the course was very strong and well designed,” he said, “and that it would, indeed, meet the learning objectives of the large audience, including both those interested only in dipping into the subject and those who were seriously committed” to completing the course.

Twitter user @cjprender has a slightly different take.

* MOOCs: What if the cure is worse than the disease?

Perhaps I’m overly cynical, but I think the real root of MOOC-mania is an edifice complex on the part of university presidents and trustees.  The last time I checked, the average university president in this country served for about four years before moving on to greener pastures.  It used to be that the easiest way to leave a legacy on campus would be to build something.  With bond financing nearly impossible to come by these days, the easiest (but not necessarily least expensive) way to build something is to create a virtual campus.

* ‘8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment.’ Stupid vital careers necessary for the smooth operation and reproduction of social goods! Why don’t you get paid, son?

* Bérubé: The Humanities, Unraveled.

large_4ca6295c0ca1b_1These serene Chinese landscapes are actually photographs of landfills.

* Don’t Panic, But Thousands of Dolphins Were Spotted Swimming Away Off the Coast of San Diego.

* Don’t hate the player; hate the game.

Alligator OK to eat on Lenten Fridays, archbishop clarifies.

* Being Ken Jennings.

Forthcoming Film Is Defense of For-Profit Colleges, Critics Say.

The narration for one of the film’s early promotional trailers includes references to the “attack” on the proprietary sector by policy makers, politicians, unions, and other critics who “protect the flawed status quo.”

“Many politicians continue to manipulate the truth and serve the interests of the unions in order to keep the private sector from serving adult learners, creating a virtual, permanent underclass,” says the narrator in one clip that was on the Web site of Fractured Atlas but was replaced afterThe Chronicle inquired about it.

Unions! I hate those guys.

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