Is technology, in MOOC form, going to be the Skynet of higher education, leading to the subordination of the professoriate to the machines? All of a sudden, doom is on everyone’s lips with the jumping on board the Coursera train of a platoon of top universities, and we all wonder where it’s heading at breakneck speed. Questions about the need for a large cadre of full-time faculty, the numbers of which have already been dwindling through competition with the growing administrative demand for adjuncts, are understandably making those of us who teach a little uneasy. Visions of universities without walls are shifting to visions of universities without faculty, or maybe only a few elite, star faculty who phone in their course content in recorded video chunks and leave the course management to . . . well, to whom does that chore fall?
Pick your favorite science fiction metaphor to characterize this unknown future driven by technology and a slow economy. We’ve perhaps been too focused on zombies lately, when it was the machines all along.
Here are some current angst-ridden articles on the new terror:
May 3, 2012 NY Times “The Campus Tsunami”
May 21, 2012 Inside Higher Ed “Playing the Role of MOOC Skeptic: 7 Concerns”
June 11, 2012 Inside HigherEd “The Real Tsunami”
July 17, 2012 NY Times “Consortium of Colleges Takes Online Education to New Level”
Better yet, just go ahead and Google anything to do with MOOCs and higher ed and figure out where you stand–and where you might work in the future.