Weekly Read October 27, 2014

More than MOOCs: What are the risks for academic freedom?

By Jonathan Rees

2 thoughts on “Weekly Read October 27, 2014

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  2. It seems that this is just what our budget-constructors — Cuomo, et al. — want: the equivalent of a supermarket-style education.

    This budget-cutting mentality is a reflection of misplaced priorities. More than half of the federal budget goes for the military to fight losing wars around oil, whose use raises global warming, while money for infrastructure repair is cut. Taxes on the wealthy are lowered, depriving the states of working capital. Education spending is decreased while money for prisons is increased.

    The effect on college education is this: As money is decreased, the number of adjuncts is increased, since they’re so inexpensive (in other words, they can be exploited more than full-timers). When money is reduced further, MOOCs become the latest “innovation.” What will be next? College campuses sold to developers to create luxury apartments?

    Just as products can be gotten “on the cheap” at a supermarket which buys in quantity, a college education can be received by students “on the cheap” through MOOCs. The latter are much the same as that old standby, the oversized lecture courses that freshman students suffer through at many institutions — just a little bit worse.

    But we shouldn’t concern ourselves about this; it is part and parcel of the general cheapening of life in 21st century “Amuricuh,” where news comes in soundbites, attention spans rarely rise above two minutes, well-paid football players so often terrorize their spouses as well as other players, police kill young black men with impunity, and the latest administration of whichever political party breaks international law with equal impunity (just to pick a few instances at random).

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