I’ve already missed the boat on that proposed California MOOC legislation. Nevertheless, I still wanted to talk about this related quote from Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng, which I find absolutely amazing:
“If you think about your favorite teacher you had back in college and the conversations you had with him or her, there’s just no way to replace that with a computer,” Ng said. “But you need to figure out the economics and the logistics to hire more teachers to deliver those sorts of amazing interactions.”
That’s like an arms dealer telling us that war is wrong, but his conscience is clear because all the weapons he sells only get used for self-defense. Seriously, the guy’s entire business model is predicated on permanent austerity. How then can we possibly take him seriously when he claims to lament that situation?
If you’re at all informed about the MOOC situation, you obviously can’t. However, as Mark Cheathem recently reminded me, most faculty aren’t particularly well-informed about the possible effects of technology upon their future employment. Therefore, should they accidentally find themselves reading an article like the one that Ng quote is in, they can listen to the gentle cooing sounds emanating from Coursera’s general direction and then go back into a deep, deep sleep.
Should they wake up without a job, Andrew Ng has an airtight alibi. He supported hiring more professors all along.