San Jose State is the ground zero for the MOOC tsunami, in several senses. It’s literally located in Silicon Valley, but it’s also part of the Cal State system, the largest university system in the country, with almost half a million students. Along with the partnership with edX, SJSU also has a partnership with Udacity to offer slightly lower cost online courses to its own students — and also to local high school and community college students — and they say they hope to eventually replace 20% of the curriculum with online courses from universities like Harvard and MIT. They explicitly hope to do so in a way which can serve as a model for the rest of the Cal State system to follow.Bye bye universities.
SJSU’s president, by the way, might be the most market-minded university administrator I’ve ever come across, and his contempt for his own university faculty is astonishing; when he was asked about the quality of SJSU’s online courses, for example, he just quipped that “It could not be worse than what we do face to face.” He says that kind of thing regularly enough that it’s not a fluke. It’s one thing when you have the President of edX or Thomas Friedman condemning professors as boring pontificators spouting content, but when the calls are coming from inside the building, you have a real problem.
Another tidbit: his Cal State profile page describes “his more than 30 years of experience in the service of higher education and industry,” which is a conflation you rarely here put quite so bluntly. Such a conflation does, however, make a lot of sense in Silicon Valley, where the educational-industrial complex is the foundation on which the valley rests, where it’s pretty normal for a Stanford professor to also be an executive at Google, and for a university president to see his duty as split between working for education and working for industry. But things get weird if that model starts to be the basis from which to transform a public system of higher education. Which is what’s now happening.
Monday, May 20, 2013
It Could Not Be Worse Than What We Do Face-to-Face
Via LGM, stuff about MOOCs:
Posted by Substance McGravitas at 7:32 AM