Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mooks against MOOCs: fighting for education with silver spoons

This is my first September with two children in university.
It's not cheap - and not expected to be - but this is probably the most offensive time of the year as it's bookstore time ("money is evil" and "ouch" were reports I received).

Meanwhile, I've been trying out MOOC offerings (massive open online courses) - and learning more than I think I would in a lecture and hard copy world.

So this caught my attention.

High-Profile MOOC Prof Dumps Coursera | TIME.com:
A professor who was trumpeted as early evidence of MOOC’s acceptance and success in top schools, will pull his course off the Coursera site, saying that he now worries that online courses will be used to justify cuts in state funding for universities.
“I’ve said no because I think that it’s an excuse for state legislatures to cut funding to state universities,” Professor Mitchell Duneier told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “And I guess that I’m really uncomfortable being part of a movement that’s going to get its revenue in that way.”
Continue reading at TIME.com:

In 'THAT' way?

The utilization of modern technological and pedagogical tools to provide better value and open up educational opportunities affordably way?

This calls for a September refresher lesson - with this version of the spoon tale reportedly told by William Aberhart in a speech in Toronto in 1935 (the year he was elected as Premier of Alberta):
One of the school graduates came to me to pay his respects to the school; he told me he was in charge of helping on one of the Dominion air ports. I said to him, “I suppose you use modern machinery in your air ports?”“No, sir.”“Why?”“Well,” he said, “if we used modern machinery in the establishment of air ports there would be very little need of men to help us to do it, for they would do it so rapidly and easily that there would be no need of man labour. We give them picks and shovels and put them out to do it in the old-fashioned way.”I smiled and said to him: “It would probably be just as well to give them spoons and forks; it would take them still longer to do it.” It seemed to me so ridiculous; we let modern machinery rust at the road side or air port and make those men bend their backs in order to give them the purchasing power to buy the necessities of life, and hardly that.
It seems there are many who don't fell they make enough money with picks and shovels to buy "the necessities of life"... and they force the class to buy the book too.

Related: Napster, Udacity, and the Academy | Clay Shirky

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