Are online courses failing America?


Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are the hot new thing in higher education, Megan McArdle of Bloomberg writes. Their popularity has triggered some hysteria from tenured professors faced with the possibility of revolutionary change to the industry that employs them. In Slate today, Jonathan Rees warns that MOOCs could be terrible for…well, tenured professors. And maybe students, too. But mostly tenured professors: “Unfortunately for everyone else in academia, their fame will likely come at a very steep price. From an administrative standpoint, the beauty of MOOCs is that they provide an easy opportunity to drastically cut labor costs by firing existing faculty members or simply hiring poorly trained ones — whom they won’t have to pay well — to help administer the class. After all, this way of thinking goes, why should I hire a new Ph.D. when I can get the best professors in the world piped into my university’s classrooms?”

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