Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Ludditism

AcaMOOCia RoundMOOC

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The New Faculty Minority: Tenured professors fight to retain control as their numbers shrink.

* Behind the scenes of the NYU “no confidence” vote.

* I hereby irrevocably grant the University the absolute right and permission to use, store, host, publicly broadcast, publicly display, public[sic] perform, distribute, reproduce and digitize any Content that I upload, share or otherwise provide in connection with the Course or my use of the Platform, including the full and absolute right to use my name, voice, image or likeness (whether still, photograph or video) in connection therewith, and to edit, modify, translate or adapt any such Content. The MOOC is hungry; the MOOC must be fed.

* MOOCs have become a straight business play.

The Steinberg legislation marks the synthesis of MOOC steps (3) and (4), in which large scale trials are being insured through a state-created artifical product market revolving around Udacity and Coursera in particular. The business problem is this: Large-scale trials must be had at any cost, or the product momentum will die, investors will have doubts, money will dry up, market penetration will fail. MOOCs have shown that lots of people will sign up for a free online course–and that a tiny proportion actually persist. If students are required to pay tuition, as with UC online, they currently don’t sign up in the first place.

Thus 2013 may not be Year of the MOOC II, in that it may reveal that MOOCs may have no large natural market of tuition-paying students.  To head off this possibility, the firms have shifted focus to regulatory capture.  This is what happened when Udacity was hired by San Jose State University to run 3 remedial courses.  The formal signing ceremony put founder Sebastian Thrun on the same level as the governor of the state and the chancellor of the Cal State University system.

* The Chronicle surveys the professors behind the MOOCs.

The for-profit college sector had a difficult time building a prestigious for-profit product – at least in the way that the elite private universities are prestigious. But perhaps the lines between for-profit and public higher education is about to disappear. The latest ads from the University of Phoenix do not sound markedly different than the public relations of the University of California at Berkeley. There’s a somber assessment of the competitiveness of the marketplace, a nod to the importance of market-relevant training, and a promise to provide opportunity for willing and able students, irrespective of background or academic preparation.

Online education’s false promises.

For higher education, MOOCs have become fantasy household robots, doing the dishes, vacuuming, listening attentively. MOOCs are going to create students with job-ready skills, cater to individual learning styles, enable collaborations between students and faculty in different countries. Maybe they’ll even alleviate poverty as students in remote regions learn skills like computer programming and engineering.

* And @zunguzngu gets smashy: It is perhaps time to reconsider the problem of machine-wrecking in the early industrial history of Britain and other countries. Related: 

Professors, as much as some of us want to deny it, are working class. We have rituals that seem bizarre to the uninitiated. We have long periods of apprenticeship in which we pick up these rituals. We have bosses that want to make us work harder for less pay. We even have common styles of dress. Academia is our house of labor, and MOOC providers are deliberately trying to tear down the door so that they can rush in and trash the place.

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.