Apparently, the University of Texas system thinks that its faculty are a bunch of idiots. Inside Higher Ed reports that UT is partnering with EdX in part in order to get through college faster and “for less money.” The article goes on to explain:
Texas faculty may worry that awarding credit for über-scalable MOOCs could be the first step toward eliminating local versions of those courses — and faculty jobs with them. “We have no intention of doing that,” said [Steve] Mintz [executive director of the Texas system's Institute for Transformational Learning].
How else can they ever get to a $10,000 bachelor’s degree without firing people? [OK, they could fire administrators, but you and I both know that isn't going to happen.] The math doesn’t add up otherwise.
I’m starting to think there are two kinds of online classes in this world: ones that run entirely by themselves, and ones that at least still use people to do the teaching. The whole appeal of MOOCs to the administrative class rests not on the technology, but in the possibility of the endless stream of money without having to employ faculty labor to make it flow.
In other words, it’s not the MOOC that’s the matter. It’s the attitude of the people implementing them. They seem to think faculty will just sit back and accept their own obsolescence and I can’t say that I blame them. Too many of us act as if any old computer program can do our job.
Can we embrace the medium, but fight the message?