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Saturday, December 21, 2013

On-Line Learning

For John, BLUFOn the other hand, it has been a God send to others.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is an essay on MOOC, or "massive, open online courses".  The author is Professor Jakub Grygiel, at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  It is published in the magazine The American Interest, 19 December 2013.  The title is "The MOOC Fraud".

In brief, Professor Grygiel believes that online education is not education at the upper level. Best Line:

Tacitus is rather the source to invoke:  They create a desolation and call it education.
Second Best is"
“Online education” is to education what pornography is to marriage.  It destroys stable relationships, vitiates the ability to argue and reason, splits people apart and ultimately leaves no intellectual offspring.  It is, in short, liable to be thoughtless, asocial and sterile.
On the flip side, I have seen several people at work sharpen up their skills through the on-line presence of the often maligned Phoenix University.  I would be interested in seeing this approach progress a little further.  For sure higher education has become much more expensive than it was when I graduated from High School and one could get a college degree (granted, in California) for around $100 per semester plus room and board (we lived a few blocks from the Cal State Long Beach).  What are we losing by pricing people out of the education market or saddling them with huge debts upon graduation; graduation into an uncertain job market.

Interestingly, Slate has an article on Johns Hopkins University planning on reducing its number of PhD Candidates.  This is to do a better job of educating those who sign up for the program.

Al of this is coming at a time of proliferation of what one wag has called the academic nomenklatura.  A new class of people who administer the institution.  These non-teaching personnel do drive up the cost of education.

Then there is the way that UMass Lowell is using on-line education to renege on its commitment to veterans and the elderly, to allow them to attend classes for $30, plus books, each semester.  We are told it is a "color of money" issue.  And it is being worked on.

UPDATE:  Provided a missing link.

Regards  —  Cliff

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