J’accuse: SJSU faculty say MOOC profs are complicit
In an open letter to a Harvard professor who built a MOOC, faculty at San Jose State University urge him and other MOOC-offering professors to stop. “Professors who care about public education should not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.”
“In spite of our admiration for your ability to lecture in such an engaging way to such a large audience,” the letter’s authors write, “we believe that 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.”
The letter is part of a brewing debate about how MOOCs might deepen the divide between wealthy universities, which produce MOOCs, and less wealthy ones, which buy licenses to use those MOOCs from providers like edX.
The authors say they fear “that two classes of universities will be created: one, well-funded colleges and universities in which privileged students get their own real professor; the other, financially stressed private and public universities in which students watch a bunch of videotaped lectures and interact, if indeed any interaction is available on their home campuses, with a professor that this model of education has turned into a glorified teaching assistant.”