Professors’ open letter: MOOCs a ‘compromise of quality education’

SJSU professors said they wouldn’t oppose blended courses.

The latest professorial backlash against massive open online courses (MOOCs) comes from San Jose State University (SJSU), where just last month edX officials and MOOC advocates trumpeted the expansion of the online courses that have proven controversial in many circles of higher education.

Professors from SJSU’s philosophy department penned an open letter to Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor and the creator of a MOOC on Justice, saying that they wouldn’t adopt his MOOC because “having a scholar teach and engage with his or her own students is far superior to having those students watch a video of another scholar engaging his or her students.”

SJSU’s battle with some of its faculty members comes just days after Duke University faculty voted against an initiative that would have granted college credits to Duke students who took classes in online classes using 2U, which, unlike MOOCs, only hosts hundreds of students rather than tens or hundreds of thousands.…Read More

University establishes flipped learning training center for faculty

Students in SJSU’s blended learning pilot program had a high completion rate.

San Jose State University, known as the public university serving Silicon Valley, will be home to a program that will train faculty members from across California in how to administer a blended course using a massive open online course (MOOC) platform.

SJSU, which last fall became the first institution to test incorporating edX’s online content into a campus-based course for credit, announced April 10 that the university would open a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning for educators from across the state interested in offering edX’s electrical engineering course next academic year.

The public announcement included details on an expansion of SJSU’s edX pilot program that will make the edX engineering class available to as many as 11 of the 23 California State University system schools, reaching thousands of students across the state.…Read More

Student class project leads to minimum wage jump

If anyone deserves an A+ this week it’s Marisela Castro, a daughter of farmworkers who turned her Social Action class project at San Jose State University into a campaign to increase the local minimum wage, the Associated Press reports. On Monday her activism paid off, as 70,000 workers in San Jose enjoyed the nation’s single largest minimum-wage increase, a 25 percent raise from $8 to $10 an hour, amounting to a $4,000 annual bump in pay for a full time worker to $22,080.

“I never doubted for a minute we could make this happen,” said Castro, 28, who grew up in agriculture-rich Gilroy, where her parents and at times Castro picked garlic, lettuce and other vegetables in nearby fields.

While putting herself through college in 2011, Castro worked at an after-school program with low-income children who slipped snacks into their backpacks because there wasn’t enough food at home. Meanwhile in her sociology classes she was reading about how a minimum wage job leaves workers — especially those in one of the wealthiest regions of the country — in severe poverty……Read More