Doom to college as we know it

One commentator looks at the San Jose MOOC decision and forecasts the fall of American higher education.

Ferenstein presents this timeline:

  1. Pilot succeeds, expands to more universities and classes
  2. Part-time faculty get laid off, more community colleges are shuttered, extracurricular college services are closed, and humanities and arts departments are dissolved for lack of enrollment (science enrollment increases–yay!?)
  3. Graduate programs dry up, once master’s and PhD students realize there are no teaching jobs. Fewer graduate students means fewer teaching assistants and, therefore, fewer classes
  4. Competency-based measures begin to find the online students perform on par with, if not better than, campus-based students. Major accredited state college systems offer fully online university degrees, then shutter more and more college campuses
  5. A few Ivy League universities begin to control most of the online content, as universities all over the world converge toward the classes that produce the highest success rates
  6. In the near future, learning on a college campus returns to its elite roots, where a much smaller percentage of students are personally mentored by research and expert faculty
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2 Comments

  1. skjandrews

     /  January 22, 2013

    It’s curious that the article cites a program automating low level STEM education as evidence that arts and humanities faculty will be fired and programs will be shuttered in favor of online. This seems sloppy futuring. Arizona State University did something similar with their intro to math classes and is also expanding its online presence, to the point where this public non profit is poaching students from the more famous private for profit in the state. There may be evidence for this future, but since the BA includes arts and humanities (otherwise it isn’t a BA) it is curious that he predicts there will be even fewer adjuncts teaching it. As several people have pointed out, online is not necessarily cheaper. And unless you have undisclosed amounts of venture capital funding floating your project, it is hard to see how it is any more sustainable than the already adjunctified faculty. But I’m impatient with this line of argument so it is sometimes a blind spot.

    Reply
  2. The Two Cultures divide is back, baby, and badder than ever.

    Reply

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