What Is Humanity’s Greatest Invention? Ctd

Rather than religion, a reader points to the “double-blind experiment” as our greatest innovation: It’s the means by which we can finally escape the illogical and incorrect claims of religion and discover the way the universe actually works. Another is more critical: Yuval Noah Harari has got to be joking; religion is one of humanity‘s worst inventions.  … Continue reading What Is Humanity’s Greatest Invention? Ctd

There’s No App For Inequality

Last week, Clay Shirky argued that “number of high-school graduates underserved or unserved by higher education today dwarfs the number of people for whom that system works well.” Freddie doesn’t think technology can solve this problem: [E]ducating “nontraditional” students– administrator speak for poor students, students whose parents are themselves uneducated, minority students, and students who … Continue reading There’s No App For Inequality

Exporting Online Education

American MOOCs are in high demand abroad: Sixty-eight percent of Coursera’s users come from outside the United States, with India, China, Brazil, and Mexico all in the top 10. In these countries, enrollment in tertiary education is growing by leaps and bounds. Public systems aren’t equal to the demand, and private for-profit options are seen as … Continue reading Exporting Online Education

Would You Take A CompSci Course Taught By Matt Damon?

Some MOOC providers hope so: “From what I hear, really good actors can actually teach really well,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO of EdX, who was until recently a computer-science professor at MIT. “So just imagine, maybe we get Matt Damon to teach Thévenin’s theorem,” he added, referring to a concept that Agarwal covers in a … Continue reading Would You Take A CompSci Course Taught By Matt Damon?

“Disruptive Innovation”

by Matt Sitman That’s the catchphrase Judith Shulevitz nominates as the most pernicious cliché of our time, tracing it back to Clayton Christensen’s book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. She argues that its constant invocation reveals what “George Orwell pointed out, which is that stale phrases mechanically repeated have dangerous political effects”: You can’t blame Christensen and … Continue reading “Disruptive Innovation”

Obama On Higher Education (Or: Do Colleges Need More Rankings?)

by Tracy R. Walsh Yesterday, President Obama delivered the first of three speeches setting out his vision for higher education: an ambitious if not-entirely coherent list that includes new federal college rankings, outcomes-based funding, more MOOCs, and universal income-based student loan repayment. Jon Chait zooms out: The most controversial element of Obama’s proposal is to create … Continue reading Obama On Higher Education (Or: Do Colleges Need More Rankings?)

Expanding Access To Disappointment

Reihan thinks that massive open online course (MOOCs) may be “the logical culmination” of two trends in higher education: At the same time that the higher education sector is taking on tougher-to-teach students, it has aimed to use labor less intensively. Elite liberal arts colleges that offered a great deal of personal attention and hand-holding gave rise to … Continue reading Expanding Access To Disappointment

In Search Of Universal Truths

Kevin Hartnett traces a line from today’s massive open online courses (MOOCs) controversies to the dawn of education by textbook: Before textbooks, learning typically happened through the dialogic method—exchanges between students and professors. But beginning in the 18th-century, scholars began redacting blocks of information into standardized books that laid out content in logical, easily digestible fashion. The … Continue reading In Search Of Universal Truths

Where Can Colleges Cut Back?

Wilkinson asks why moving courses online is a better option than trimming administrative bloat: [S]tudents have faced rapidly rising tuition costs not due to large increases in the cost of instruction, but mostly due to the dramatic, rapid growth of the university bureaucratic class, which offers nothing of obvious worth to the education of their universities’ … Continue reading Where Can Colleges Cut Back?