And on Wednesday, San Jose State announced that next fall, it will pay a licensing fee to offer three to five more blended edX courses, probably including Harvard’s “Ancient Greek Heroes” and Berkeley’s “Artificial Intelligence.” And over the summer, it will train 11 other California State campuses to use the blended M.I.T. circuits course.
Comment: Never enough money for instructors; always enough money for licensing content from a private provider.Dr. Qayoumi favors the blended model for upper-level courses, but fully online courses like Udacity’s for lower-level classes, which could be expanded to serve many more students at low cost. Traditional teaching will be disappearing in five to seven years, he predicts, as more professors come to realize that lectures are not the best route to student engagement, and cash-strapped universities continue to seek cheaper instruction.
But students will have access to live tutors in Mountain View :
The online mentors work in shifts at Udacity’s offices in nearby Mountain View, Calif., waiting at their laptops for the “bing” that signals a question, and answering immediately.Comment: Mountain View for now, until it's cheaper to outsource them to another country. I predict they'll be outsourced within 3-5 years, just as accounting firms, software companies, radiology practices, and other professional firms have moved their basic reading/preparing/customer service tasks to India. Remember, this is a for-profit business, not an educational institution.
Rhetorical sleight of hand #1: Is there any part of the "specter" that isn't a real threat? Yet calling it a "specter" pokes fun at those possibilities as irrational fears instead of what is an actual business plan--star professors, glorified tutors, and all of it.
Any wholesale online expansion raises the specter of professors being laid off, turned into glorified teaching assistants or relegated to second-tier status, with only academic stars giving the lectures. Indeed, the faculty unions at all three California higher education systems oppose the legislation requiring credit for MOOCs for students shut out of on-campus classes. The state, they say, should restore state financing for public universities, rather than turning to unaccredited private vendors.
Sleight of hand #2: There are those professorial thugs, the "faculty unions," again, wanting to restore state financing instead of, I don't know, giving the money to for-profit companies and dismantling the university system into the bargain. Translation: "they" want to cost you, the reader, money in the form of hard-earned tax dollars, and they don't care about those poor "shut out" students, as "we" do.
Sleight of hand #3: "They say" that, do "they"? See that rhetorical move? The MOOC cheerleaders in the article are the right-thinking people who believe that "students come first," the implicit "we as readers," unlike the union thugs, the "they."
But who cares, right?
And if short videos and embedded quizzes with instant feedback can improve student outcomes, why should professors go on writing and delivering their own lectures?Sleight of hand #4: "Delivering their own lectures"--as if this is the sum total of teaching. First of all, WHO LECTURES IN THAT WAY any more (in the humanities, anyway)? Second, this confirms that the business model is to break the profession of teaching into discrete tasks, assign one superstar, outsource the grading and tutoring to drones, and boom, you're done.
Now the extra credit question:
Are MOOC providers going to hire their own graduates--for they will have graduates, now that they have accreditation? I keep asking this, and I keep being deafened by the silence.
And an extra credit comment (h/t to Jonathan Rees) and also a link to a prior post: