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Fri Feb 22, 2013, 09:28 AM

Conservatives declare war on college

Bobby Jindal doesn't want the GOP to be the "stupid party," but fellow governors are plotting to wreck higher ed


Are you crazy? The Internet will definitely ruin college!

That’s what my inbox has been telling me ever since my story two weeks ago about the inevitable invasion of MOOCs (massive open online courses) into higher education, “The Internet Will Not Ruin College.” The negativity wasn’t unanimous, but it was definitely illuminating.

Information is not the same as knowledge! Online education might work for remedial algebra or the basics of computer programming, conceded several professors, but when the goal is to teach students to think and write critically about history or literature, the benefits of teaching thousands of students simultaneously via their iPads becomes much hazier. University administrators pushing MOOCs, they argued, are more interested in cutting costs or finding new sources of revenue than in delivering the best education possible. Most students who do register for MOOCs never finish them, they warned, and the available data suggests the kinds of students who need the most educational assistance tend to be the ones who benefit the least from online classes.

Oh yeah, and the whole thing is a right-wing plot to defund public education, screw the humanities, and help corporations profit off of students.

The critics of MOOCs make many good points. And yet, from the perspective of someone who has watched closely as Internet-enabled distribution turned the music and publishing industries upside down, a lot of the clamor initially sounded a little like passengers on a sinking ship in the middle of a typhoon complaining about bad weather. Yeah, it sucks, but storm’s a coming, people; it’s time to start swimming! The spread of quality, low-cost online education is going to shake things up. As one professor said to me via email, “The large lecture at a community college or a satellite state university is about to go the way of the passenger pigeon, and the mass extinction will be just about as fast.”

But what if MOOCs actually turned out to be part of a right-wing plot?


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Reply Conservatives declare war on college (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 2013 OP
alp227 Feb 2013 #1
Proud Liberal Dem Feb 2013 #2
midwest irish Feb 2013 #3
midwest irish Feb 2013 #4

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:57 PM

2. Santorum got things kicked off (re: degrading college)

last year when he was running for POTUS. He acted like President Obama's attempts to make it easier for people to attend college was practically heresay.

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Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:31 PM



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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:42 PM

4. the attack on social sciences and the humanities


is very deliberate and very real. These courses teach critical thinking. Students learn about things like logical fallacies, social constructions, how institutions work, tons of other intellectual necessities needed to function in our world. Conservatives want people to be happy economically destitute and eating/drinking toxins.

I teach online history/political science courses and let me tell you, it is very difficult to get the same level of impact you would have in a traditional course. You try to be creative and incorporate a lot of learning techniques (discussion boards, research assignments, so on). But it's hard to find a formula that works. Added to that, the state committee in charge of higher ed (which is appointed by the Gov) sets standards so that credits at community colleges are transferable to the state's public universities. Ok, that is a great idea. But the stipulations made by the Gov's committee usually result in a loss of academic freedom and focusing on the method/topics they want you to cover.

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