Re: A heuristic

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I suppose it's inappropriate of me to immediately think, "Hey, Arne Duncan, maybe you need some disruptive innovation in YOUR ASS."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 12:31 PM
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Also any mention of synergy ought to put the bullshit detector to maximum dynamic range.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 12:36 PM
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"innovation" and "disruptive" combine synergistically.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 12:39 PM
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Dan Ariely's course on Irrational Behavior (on Coursera) is awesome. Go listen to it while it's still available. Long live MOOCs!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 12:39 PM
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Innovation is inherently disruptive. If the innovation is of value, then you don't mind the associated disruption, and you just call it "innovation." If you have to resort to the "disruptive innovation" label, then its really just disruption for the sake of disruption.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 12:44 PM
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If you have to resort to the "disruptive innovation" label, then its really just disruption for the sake of disruption.

Or more precise, disruption for the sake of distributing more money toward yourself, with zero or negative public benefit.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 12:48 PM
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6.2: Synergistically*, we could call it "distrubtion."

* This word spellchecks, but it probably shouldn't.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:03 PM
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I suspect there is some story to tell about the rise of the word "disruptive" in business -- particularly in Silicon Valley with its young male stars -- and the ADHD diagnosis/medication of a generation of largely male children, but I wouldn't know where to begin. Maybe Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, has some insight.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:07 PM
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Would like to have someone as secretary of education other than Obama's basketball buddy.

"disruptive innovation" is from this book that is pretty good:

http://www.amazon.com/Innovators-Dilemma-Revolutionary-Change-Business/dp/0062060244

It basically means a cheap but shitty solution that gets better over time dooming the producers of the high quality product.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:13 PM
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The value of "disruptive innovation" depends a great deal on the value of the status quo of the institution being disrupted and/or innovative.

There are many many aspects of higher education I would like to disrupt and/or innovate, but I don't think moocs will address any of them.

Honestly, I think moocs will have slightly more impact on higher education than blogs, but not as much as wikipedia. Nothing in that range of change touches the structural problems in education, including skyrocketing costs and the dependence on adjuncts.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:16 PM
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Related.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:20 PM
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8: I thought it was a Clayton Christensen thing. He popularized the term, contrasting it with "sustaining innovation" that makes an existing thing better, and now everyone's latched onto it as the new meaningless buzzword.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:21 PM
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The value of "disruptive innovation" depends a great deal on the value of the status quo of the institution being disrupted and/or innovative.

This is what I was going to say. I don't mind, say, the coal industry being victimized by innovation (as long as the workers are protected in some way).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:21 PM
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12: I think this is exactly right, with the added proviso that Christensen's "disruption" is often diametrically opposed in meaning to start-up-talk "disruption".

For example, he will say that if the established players in the industry are trying to smack your new model down, that's a sign that your innovation isn't disruptive -- it means its utility is oriented similarly to theirs, so they could in principle adopt whatever use it has.

A Christensen-disruptive MOOC would be one that totally ignored universities, and instead marketed to bored housewives or third-world high school dropouts.


Posted by: Micah | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:31 PM
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A companion heuristic: The frequency and enthusiasm with which someone uses the term "disruptive" is directly and negatively correlated with his/her life experience of being responsible for coping with the fallout of disruption.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:54 PM
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12, 14 - The canonical example is steel micro-mills, right? They started off being only good enough for low-margin, cruddy steel like rebar, business which the real steel mills was delighted not to have to deal with any more. Only the micro-mills got better and better and kept taking the lowest-margin business away from the mills until most of them couldn't function any more.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 1:57 PM
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15 is quotable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:01 PM
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17 is correct. This is yet another manifestation of elites' willingness to bear any sacrifice, as long as it's being made by somebody else.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:25 PM
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If MOOCs are cheaper to produce than traditional lectures, but people are still able to pay the same amount, why would they charge any less? I guess to attract a larger audience so the total revenue is higher even though the unit tuition is lower. Maybe I need to watch a video lecture on economics.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:27 PM
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My job probably won't exist in ten years. It would be stressful except that it makes me not care too much about preparing my tenure portfolio.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:30 PM
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19: I'm not sure which question you're asking:

1) Why do MOOCs right now charge less?

2) Why, if MOOCs take over the roll played by colleges, would they charge less in the new equilibrium?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:34 PM
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On the substance, I fear Duncan is correct. The increasing obsolescence of professional journalism has been very sad for the journalists themselves and troublesome for democracy, but it was pretty much destined to happen.

Likewise the decline of organized labor - though that was probably less a result of implacable historical forces, and was probably even more damaging to the common weal.

Also: Lawyers.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:35 PM
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Maybe the worst thing that comes from liberals listening to economists is that they can become convinced that any money anyone manages to earn is a "rent", which is by definition bad. In an ideal market there is maximum efficiency and profits are zero. If there are profits it's because somebody has some sort of unfair advantage. Likewise, if one person earns more money than another person it's a sign that there is some inefficiency somewhere. Ultimate conclusion, there must be unlimited immigration if you aren't a moral monster.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:39 PM
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23: I want to live in a society where no-one makes any money. Money is a sign of poverty.


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:48 PM
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Seriously, we talk about Yglesias a lot, but his absolute glee at the prospect of things like "Robot replaces doctor's brain! Suddenly their jobs can be done by someone with an associate's degree! Medical care for all!" gets odder and odder.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:50 PM
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Also: Lawyers.

Explain?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:52 PM
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Maybe the worst thing that comes from liberals listening to economists is that they can become convinced that any money anyone manages to earn is a "rent"

??????

I must not be listening to the right economists.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:53 PM
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27: It's more of an intuitive thing. We're always on the lookout for evidence that some company's profits are the result of "rent-seeking" rather than honest toil, so as to poke holes in the idea that our nation is an exemplar of the glorious free market.

This can easily lead to a similar intuitive reaction to the news that some examples of the common man are better off than other seemingly similar people, thanks to labor unions, or credentialing, or networking, rather than through, I guess, the invisible hand or whatever. The more you listen to economists the less you remember that some sort of intervention is NEEDED to rectify the near-infinite power imbalance between employer and employee.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 2:57 PM
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What does it mean to say a company's profits are due to rent-seeking?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 3:04 PM
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29: Basically, getting rich by controlling some kind of chokepoint. The paradigmatic example is a landowner, who is able to charge more in rent as innovation by others makes their land more productive, without contributing anything to the process.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 3:32 PM
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The company is rent-seeking if it is generating revenue not due to a superior or more desirable product/service, but by exploiting its position in the market or otherwise gaining increased revenue by causing market inefficiency. E.g. if I'm an incumbent widget producer and I successfully petition the government to enact regulations that will make it more difficult to start a widget-making firm, I'm rent-seeking.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 3:35 PM
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Actually I think that's just collecting economic rents. Classical economists would say that rents can be efficiently taxed, since e.g. there's a fixed amount of land, it's not like they're making less of it.

Rent-seeking is when economic agents try to capture - or even create - such a chokepoint.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 3:35 PM
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32 to 30. 31 sounds about right.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 3:36 PM
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The place of the rentier and rent-seeker in classical (i.e. post-Smith) economic rhetoric is similar to the place of the lender in Aristotelian economics: a basically illegitimate economic agent, because they get money without apparently producing anything.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 3:39 PM
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21- #2. Everyone talks about how MOOCs increase efficiency, reduce profits, make education more accessible, but if the market will bear it, why would it reduce tuition, regardless of how much money it saves on the production side by putting professors out of work? If all the geniuses of the Free Market are running things, won't they just charge whatever gives the largest (# of students) * (charge per student)?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 4:05 PM
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Maybe one of the more economically-minded commenters could explain to me something I've long been wondering about, why basically all attempts to use microeconomic theory, Yglesias-style, to suggest real world policy matters aren't fatally and totally doomed by the Theory of the Second Best. It seems to me like economics -- or at least policy level microeconomics that Yglesias or the law and economics people offer -- is basically a giant effort at avoiding the Theory of the Second Best. The TOTSB suggests that in any world that isn't economically "optimal" world we can't actually derive a conclusion from abstract economic theory as to whether or not an intervention will or won't be helpful. So I feel like the economics folk just write off the TOTSB because it's annoying or ideologically inconvenient for them. But maybe there's some other more justifiable reason why economists never seem to grapple with the TOSTSB.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 4:14 PM
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MOOC = Open University? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_University


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 4:18 PM
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re: 37

The OU has tutors, and graded essays, and tutorial meetings for students to go to, but yeah, I'd guess there's some common elements. I'm not sure exactly what US style MOOCs offer, that's distinctive though.

Why anyone would do the OU now, though, that the course fees have gone stratospheric, is another matter.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 4:23 PM
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if the market will bear it, why would it reduce tuition

I believe that the assumption is that the market will not bear continuing higher tuition, and that a lower cost model will capture more marginal dollars.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 4:39 PM
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This article by Maria Bustillos is informative about what MOOCs are and how they fall short, at least in the humanities. Science courses are likely to have different advantages (usually only one right answer) and disadvantages (canned lectures are likely to be less engaging).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 4:50 PM
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I don't know, but after reading the article linked in 40, I would be very worried if I were a lecturer at East Bejusus State. Her comments about how the course had no essays were fundamental flaw was a dodge. As pointed out in the interview, there are no essays or tests by design. It would not be too hard to have essays turned in online and graded by erzatz TAs, presumably former lecturers at EBS.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:37 PM
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It would not be too hard to have essays turned in online and graded by erzatz TAs, presumably former lecturers at EBS.

Would they ding you for spelling?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:43 PM
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35: Since the marginal cost of adding a student is near 0, this makes it more tempting to gain market share by just barely undercutting the competition, at any price level. If the end state is multiple similar MOOC providers, then this is a powerful downward pressure on prices.

Meatspace colleges, on the other hand, are costly to scale up, so there's little to be gained from undercutting the competition.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:43 PM
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In practice there are lots of ways to avoid the classical result of 0 profits, involving various kinds of product differentiation, but it's harder for MOOCs than for the traditional model.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:44 PM
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Would they ding you for spelling?

Given their proclivity for bitterness, I would assume yes.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:45 PM
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How about bonus points for big words?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:46 PM
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How about bonus points for big words?

I doubt it. It is supposed to be college, after all.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 5:48 PM
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I do think MOOCs could be really useful at the high school level, particularly in poor neighborhoods where the schools don't offer AP classes. In that case, MOOCs wouldn't be competing with an existing system; they would be providing an option that simply doesn't exist now, and isn't likely to exist otherwise.


Posted by: torrey pine (formerly YK) | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 8:31 PM
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They would be competing with an existing system: books!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 8:36 PM
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Even though MOOCs are the sort of topic you'd expect the current version of MY to completely screw up, in fact I think he gets a lot right here.

"From a certain point of view it seems as if the printing press should have been the disruptive technology that put universities out of business."

If books, VHS, and wikipedia didn't change everything, I don't see why youtube is going to suddenly be disruptive. That said, I do think that replacing giant lectures with videos while still having traditional discussion sections (or even expanding the amount of small group time) would be an improvement on the current way we teach 500 person classes. But I don't see how it would "disrupt" anything.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 8:47 PM
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It is an interesting to ask why various innovations haven't disrupted the university system (patronage? credentialism? real value in intellectual communities?), but I don't think the answer is to assume the next one won't either. Yglesias writes that to suggest that MOOCs won't have negative effects, but it's not obvious that we should assume that, especially given the vendetta conservatives have against the academic community.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 9:38 PM
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I'm really curious to hear what answer economists give to Halford's 36.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 9:40 PM
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23

... In an ideal market there is maximum efficiency and profits are zero. ...

No, excess profits (above the normal or average profit) are zero. You can redefine profit to mean excess profit but this is confusing to the layperson.

... If there are profits it's because somebody has some sort of unfair advantage. ...

No, it means one (or more) of the many assumptions required for perfect competition is not present.

... Likewise, if one person earns more money than another person it's a sign that there is some inefficiency somewhere. ...

I have not seen a model which claims this. It would require many assumptions that don't hold at all in the actual world.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 9:46 PM
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It would require many assumptions that don't hold at all in the actual world.
SOP.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 9:52 PM
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36 52

Usually you can not be totally confident that any simplified model will accurately predict the real world because some factor (or interaction) you are ignoring could prove to be unexpectedly important. This would also apply to things like predictions of global warming. The hope is if you are careful and an expert in the field complete model failures will be rare.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 9:52 PM
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Are 53 and 55 a case of someone forgetting to use their pseud, or someone new? If someone new, please pick a pseud.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:06 PM
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56

53 and 55 were me.


Posted by: JBS | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:12 PM
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I tend not to be comforted by the notion that this or that thing hasn't disrupted the university, because it seems to me that the university, at least as most of us know it in this country, has only existed for a bit more than half a century. And so, given how callow an institution it actually is, it seems entirely possible that just about anything could disrupt it, including a mild breeze.

That said, I think the thing that makes MOOCs so scary (at least to someone in my line of work) is that they have the VC people behind them, and the VC people are well versed in the language of technological triumphalism, which is, above all else, a great way to obscure the fact that they're just looking to get paid for doing things that aren't terribly different from the old model.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:12 PM
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Also, it seems possible that, having spent the entire fucking day on a plane (dodging killer tornadoes), I'm pretty stoned and thus not up to making even my usual amount (not much) of sense.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:15 PM
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Attaaaaaack of the killer tomaaatoes


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:17 PM
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Also, Arne Duncan is, even by the standards of neo-liberal governance, a wretched turd of a man. Christ, what an asshole.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:23 PM
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59: And yet, you are making sense.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 10:29 PM
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Since both Clayton Christensen and Matthew Yglesias have come up in this thread, it's worth noting that the latter has been a strong advocate for the usefulness of the concept of "disruptive innovation" as defined by the former and for the phrase being restricted to that original definition rather than being used as a vague buzzword (as it so often is these days).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 11:00 PM
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Whoa. I was at a meeting called by a Vice Chancellor about education and outreach on campus, consisting mostly of University staff, and during the breakfast a much more senior fellow staff member told me over coffee, "well, you are a forward thinking trouble maker. You're a disruptor." (I think I was saying that I though central campus should fund more external math education programming but in a very milquetoast "oh well" sort of way.) I was totally and utterly baffled b/c I'm pretty sure I've only seen this person at various lunch panels people like us go to and have done nothing more disruptive than ask questions in turn like everyone else----and the education and outreach staff at Berkeley are a pretty radical and feisty group, especially some of the old guard he works with a lot more. I always feel like I'm being too mild and not truth-to-power-enoughy after they ask questions. I *thought* he meant it as an (undeserved) compliment but now I see I was totally misinterpreting it! He was actually putting me in my place!


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 05-30-13 11:57 PM
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The Correspondence School is the largest school in New Zealand, but there's still heaps of physical schools. Likewise the OU. (Which obvs not a super good comparison but!)

Also I think that unions are not just declining because of the inexorable forces of history but also 'cause of the neo-liberal attack on organised labour which is a reversible thing. Kinda irrelevant but I feel it's a bit easy to accept an overly apolitical approach.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 3:23 AM
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65: Interesting. Here in the US the Pragmatic School and Coherence Schools were big for a while.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 3:51 AM
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58.last is sadly the most true.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 4:49 AM
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I actually took a pencil-and-paper math correspondence course via snail mail to prepare for my Master's. I was admitted on the basis of my midterm grades, so I never took the finals, so presumably Lou\s\ana State University thinks I am a dropout.

It was not very good (there was a textbook, a manual that was a essentially a digest of the textbook, and homework assignments which were graded unenlighteningly) but it was no worse than the median math course I've taken, and probably somewhat better, as in this case I at least had some motivation to read the textbook. It was also cheap, less than $300 including postage.

However the best in-person courses were worth at least any 4 of the others, whether in person or not.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 5:18 AM
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I took two courses that way, actually; Linear Algebra and Multivariate Calculus.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 5:19 AM
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58. Surely the way this will shake down is that there will continue to be "traditional" universities, but far fewer of them, and they will revert to being largely the province of the social elite as in days of yore. Meanwhile, the common people, who for reasons unknown are nowadays expected to be credentialed at college level in hewing of wood and drawing of water, will get their certificates on line, though at great expense. A dreary prospect.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 5:33 AM
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A key difference, as far as I understand it, is that the Open University was instituted in a time of university abundance and expansion of higher education, whereas the MOOCs are being promoted explicitly in a time of university austerity as an alternative to paying professors.

However, after thinking about this some (and knowing little!) my current view is that MOOCs are unlikely to be on the top 20 list of things that kill higher Ed, mostly because they won't work and won't save that much money, but that as the Dutch Cookie says they'll represent a particularly egregious transfer from public funds to private VC assholes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 7:46 AM
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I find myself saying, when trying to talk people out of law school, that my smart phone has greater capabilities than I did as a junior associate. It may be that the MOOCs siphon off a bunch of the lower end of higher education without actually producing that much revenue for VC assholes. (One can dream, anyway). But there's really no doubt that the information revolution, still in early stages, is going to completely obliterate large swaths of human activity.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 8:39 AM
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My community college multivariate calculus class was genuinely terrific, much better than my high-status public university linear algebra class, mostly because the instructor was awesome but also because of the smallish class size.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 8:50 AM
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72: More likely, the principals will make lots of money in fees, and the investors will get hosed, as usual.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 9:50 AM
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I know I've said this already, but I got elected to the individual school council that determines employment and specific curriculum decisions for the K-2 school both girls will attend next year. I'm very curious to see how decisions are made about which proprietary programs and so on they use (though I'm happy so far with the one Nia used as a heavy math supplement) and what outcomes are like. I read a lot more about education policy at the college level, but it should be fun and probably also depressing to see the other end of the scale.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 10:20 AM
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I'm very curious to see how decisions are made about which proprietary programs and so on they use

You could try pushing for non-proprietary programs. I know there's this organization, for example.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 10:32 AM
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Good luck with the public service.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 10:35 AM
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61: I'm supposed to be putting together a press conference with him next month, although he's not too likely to show.


Posted by: President Washington | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 10:54 AM
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76: I'm actually pretty sure the proprietary stuff gets set at district level, but I'm interested in learning how much input I do get to have. At minimum, I can help hire, which is something. And I myself got elected claiming I'll advocate for the many other families led by non-parent guardians, though secretly my top priority is making sure all the Muslim immigrants from West Africa are doing okay within the school.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 10:55 AM
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I'm very curious to see how decisions are made about which proprietary programs and so on they use

I think one point that criticisms of MOOCs often miss is the extent to which a lot of low-end higher ed is already taught by the course software that textbook companies provide. In half of the classes I took at a local CC, the assignments, tests, slides, and discussion prompts were all pre-baked by the textbooks' education technology.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 10:58 AM
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Why ignore us?


Posted by: Opinionated Igbo | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:00 AM
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secretly my top priority is making sure all the Muslim immigrants from West Africa are doing okay within the school

I thought we were living in the age of Kenyan Islamofacism.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:04 AM
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My community college multivariate calculus class was genuinely terrific, much better than my high-status public university linear algebra class, mostly because the instructor was awesome but also because of the smallish class size.

This was my experience with my gen and o-chem series as well as calc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:07 AM
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81, 82, if you enroll at our school, I promise to care about you plenty. How's that?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:09 AM
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71: MOOCs don't have to be effective to kill higher ed on the "lower level." (Note to all commentators: Please don't sneer too much when you talk about my job.) They can suck at educating people, but as no one cares much about that as long as someone can point to money being saved, it won't matter much that their product isn't good.

I think it's a damn shame, because there are a lot of people who will do well if they have me or someone like me teaching them, who struggle if the option is "watch Harvard students interact with a professor."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:27 AM
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In half of the classes I took at a local CC, the assignments, tests, slides, and discussion prompts were all pre-baked by the textbooks' education technology.

For which the students paid a pretty penny. For a full time in county student at Last Chance Community College, the cost of books can be a quarter to a third of the overall cost of the course.

One thing that MOOCs CAN do is break the power of the textbook publishers. I am working actively toward that goal.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:39 AM
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I agree, but it's just not clear to me that they're actually going to save substantial amounts of money, either. So it's fairly unlikely that they in fact are going to be the death-knell for CCs and the like. That was the main takeaway I had from the other thread where we talked about this.

But if they are deemed to produce an acceptable (even if not as good as now) level of education and also have huge cost savings, of course they'll be adopted because austerity.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:42 AM
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87 to 85.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:43 AM
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89

(Note to all commentators: Please don't sneer too much when you talk about my job.)

Is your job significantly different than mine?

I am confidant we will still be hiring new people to do my job in ten years. You can come work for us!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 11:58 AM
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90

89: Sort of? I have research requirements for tenure, but we're open enrollment. Second Chance State U, I'd say.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 12:00 PM
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I expect the textbook publishers to capture all the non-lecture parts with shovel ware. Gloom.

I can't find much on whether MOOC students learn anything they can use later. Completion isn't the same thing.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 12:03 PM
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92

We made a lot of jobs require college degrees that shouldn't, so now we're creating crappy college degrees for people who want those jobs.


Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 1:48 PM
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I think it's a damn shame, because there are a lot of people who will do well if they have me or someone like me teaching them, who struggle if the option is "watch Harvard students interact with a professor."

Ugh. Yes.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 1:51 PM
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Explain?

Urp, I think lawyers are the victims of modern information technology, too. I didn't use a lawyer to draw up my will, for instance.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 2:07 PM
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In half of the classes I took at a local CC, the assignments, tests, slides, and discussion prompts were all pre-baked by the textbooks' education technology.

I was actually reasonably impressed by the online quiz/homework software that came with my old flatmate's community college algebra class. That's one area where technology can really help--a huge bank of potential questions, auto-grading, etc. That said, I'm sure CCSF was paying too much to [big publishing company] for it. And my flatmate wasn't learning very much, because he was paying me (very little) to do his homework for him.

(It started with just helping tutor him, and I found it too uncomfortable to protest at any given step as it gradually moved towards "doing everything for him".)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 2:18 PM
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I think it's very hard to tutor a peer. You need to have the authority to tell someone things they dan't want to hear, ie "Do this similar problem. Now this one. Etc."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 2:31 PM
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97

There's a bit of a credibility problem that MOOCs will face of why their credits are worth anything when cheating is so easy.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-31-13 2:49 PM
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