Higher Ed Reform: Who Is It For?

And they are fundamentally asking not “is college worth it?” but “who should go to college among those in the bottom 50%?” and “what should we pay for those people to go?” Because if education cost nothing to provide, the question would be moot. In the 21st Century, it’s notable that these same curious people are not asking “Is high school worth it?” even though high school dropout remains a problem and of course it costs money to offer high school as well. What is so magical about the 12th year of education versus the 14th? Absolutely nothing. So why is “worthiness” asked of the 14th year? Because the country simply hasn’t gotten around to providing a free public option.

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What College Courses Don’t Do

What courses rarely do is step back to help students understand why they are learning a certain subject matter in a way that gives them both insights into why someone else (i.e. their prof) would dedicate their lives to researching in that area while also giving them the meta-cognitive ability to take a much less specialized version of that knowledge and apply it elsewhere.

MOOCs Are Like …

MOOCs are like the patronising uncle who has yet to have a child of his own. They are great fun for the nieces and nephews, they are inventive, playful, and the kids always look forward to them arriving. But this uncle secretly (and after a couple of beers, not so secretly) thinks he could do a better job at raising the kids than the parents. He may also think they prefer him to their actual mum and dad.

Love the “Uncle MOOC” metaphor.

– from The Ed Techie

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Robot graders raise all sorts of questions about thinking machines and thinking humans, about self-expression and creativity, about the purpose of writing, the purpose of writing assignments, the purpose of education, and the ethics of education technology and of robots in the classroom.

Audrey Watters, Hack Education

Misconceptions of MOOCs

Even if its [Udacity’s] courses may seem cheaper or more accessible, offering a more viable entree into post-secondary education, they do so by (a) privatizing such an activity among an organization purpose-built to convert the needs of the many into the benefit of the very few and (b) by reframing the social challenges inherent in underserved educational populations as simple problems of content delivery.

“Inequality in American Education Will Not Be Solved Online” by Ian Bogost

A good response to the TechCrunch article on how MOOCs will end college as we know it.