Thursday, May 16, 2013

EdX finds a way around SJSU Philosophy Department's Principled Stand

From Community College Spotlight, which asks a question that we've all asked more than once around the blogosphere: "Is Online Learning for Steerage?"

Apparently the SJSU Philosophy Department's principled stand on EdX's course doesn't matter because--surprise!--EdX found a way around it:
Provost Ellen Junn said nobody had told the philosophy department to use the Sandel course, however several professors said they felt pressured to offer it. Peter J. Hadreas, who chairs the department, “said that administrators had now arranged to offer it through the English department, reinforcing his concerns that it would be taught by professors who are not trained in philosophy and would be especially reliant on the edX materials.”
Nice to know that disciplinary content doesn't matter to some administrators when free and shiny courses are involved.

In K-12 news, students in Louisiana were surprised at being signed up without their knowledge for the for-profit courses (called Course Choice) offered by the private company FastPath Learning.  FastPath offers a free tablet for signing up, and you don't even have to pass the course or turn in the tablet at the end.

Pop quiz, since we are being MOOC-like today: Where does the money for FastPath Learning courses come from?
a) the already limited funding for classroom teachers
b) administrative savings
c) all the high-tech bigwigs promoting it

Bonus question: In all likelihood, the EdX philosophy course will be "facilitated" or whatever glorified tutoring option is available by
a) tenured faculty who have already said "oh, hell no"
b) part-time faculty who fear losing their jobs if they say no

In the MOOC tradition, you can score these answers yourself.


Contingent Cassandra said...

I'll add a question: Where is the English department's backbone (or did one person agree and the rest of the department is still busy drafting *their* letter)?

Historiann said...

OMG. Appalling.

undine said...

CC--I wish I knew.

Historiann--I'm appalled by them both, and, worse, not surprised by either.

Z said...

I just found out about this and came over here to tell you, but you already knew.