1. Bill Gates wants "at least one great course online for each subject rather than lots of mediocre courses."
Who decides, Bill, and what are the standards? Video lectures by dynamic Ivy League lecturers? Interactive razzamatazz? How does the value of "great" comport with student (and administrator) pressure to make courses easier? Or wouldn't this be a concern since without teachers who have to fear being fired because of the immortal "course was to hard" and "to much writting" comments on evaluations, the course content would be immune from being watered down?
2. Food for thought: Like M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon has worked hard to make its courses available for free on the web, a laudable goal, if an expensive one. These are "automated courses" without instructors. CM doesn't give credit itself for these courses but will send completed student materials to another institution so that that institution can give credit.
Maybe this works well for science courses; I can't judge. But the message is that automated courses are good enough for other schools, but not good enough for Carnegie Mellon, which prefers, as the article puts it "humanoid instructors."
3. I think this person is onto something:
Wendy Brown, the Heller professor of political science at the Berkeley campus, spoke witheringly of the idea at a campus forum in October: “What is sacrificed when classrooms disappear, the place where good teachers do not merely ‘deliver content’ to students but wake them up, throw them on their feet and pull the chair away? Where ideas can become intoxicating, where an instructor’s ardor for a subject or a dimension of the world can be contagious? Where scientific, literary, ethical or political passions are ignited?”4. Why is it that people seem keen to get 3-D on their television sets despite the funny glasses but would rather go 2-D when it comes to education?