Rant: Why I Profess Higher Education

All week I’ve heard about the new budget “realities” of higher education, especially at my institution. I’ve helped students who apparently never entered a library before this week, college students who haven’t yet learned what an information “source” is, what a bibliography is. I read two articles by academic librarians about revenue streams and entrepreneurial librarianship. Our local high school teachers can’t access educational  resources because of tight internet filtering–but their administrators can. I think the business model of higher education is destroying it.

Although I’m an Episcopalian, not a Roman, Catholic, the following essay at the Chronicle of Higher Education re-spirited me during a long dispiriting week at work; http://chronicle.com/article/A-Catholic-Case-Against-MOOCs/141611/?cid=gn&utm_source=gn&utm_medium=en

The basis of the essay is  “the belief that education is a moral enterprise that develops human dignity and promotes social justice.” The essay is about massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, and about distance education generally. Although online course delivery appears to be cost-effective so far, and for some kinds of students may be as effective as face-to-face instruction, it replaces human reality by the “virtual.” Only for a machine is this progress.

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