It’s not disruption of Higher Education – it’s privatization

February 25, 2013 at 5:28 am 4 comments

Great piece by Aaron Bady about the trends in higher education.  I particularly liked the definition of “Borg complex” about MOOCs, which I’d not heard of previously.

So I want to shift the debate a bit. Shirky thinks in terms of “disruption” and what can come of it, in theory. I think in terms of what the “disruption” of the University of California system looks like in practice, as a complex of politicians, financiers, and career administrators move in lock-step to transform it into a self-sufficient corporate entity, and to enrich private industry in the bargain. I see a group of decision-makers who quite manifestly do not know what they are talking about and who barely try to disguise it, for whom “online” is code word for privatization. If I am against MOOC’s, I am against the way “MOOC” is being experienced in California, in practice: as an excuse to cheapen education and free the state budget from its responsibility to educate its citizenry.

via Tree Sitting – The New Inquiry.

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Defining the role for computer science in a national curriculum The Unsustainable MOOCiversity

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. josh giesbrecht (@joshgiesbrecht)  |  February 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Is that italicized bit a quote, or is it your writing? I don’t see it in the article you linked to. (Great source and great point, though.)

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  February 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

      It’s in the original piece by Aaron Bady. I linked to the reference he gave for it.

  • 3. nickfalkner  |  February 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks, Mark, I needed something well-written, factual but depressing in the lead up to SIGCSE. I may have to refer to Borg Complex extensively in my LATICE talk.

  • 4. Michael Sacasas  |  February 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I appreciate the link to my “Borg Complex” post. Examining the rhetoric of technological determinism and the uses to which it is put has become a research interest of mine. You may want to take a look at a tumblr blog I’ve set up as a database of Borg Complex rhetoric and related materials:

    Thanks again,


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