[iDC] iCollege

Frank Pasquale frank.pasquale at gmail.com
Fri Jun 18 17:17:04 UTC 2010

I think that dialogue is part of a larger debate on labor in education: do
we try to promote a living wage for all in the sector, or do we buy in to
the idea that it should just be made a "product," as cheaply or freely
available as possible?  Anya Kamenetz might be the most eloquent voice on
the left for the latter proposition:


Kamenetz believes that "The future lies in personal learning networks and
paths, learning that blends experiential and digital approaches, and free
and open-source educational models. Increasingly, you will decide what,
when, where, and with whom you want to learn, and you will learn by doing."
 This would fit in well with Wal-Mart University, which promises staffers a
degree for "learning by doing:"

But I find Marc Bousquet a more reliable guide here:

"No matter how you slice it, most public servants earn a better return on
education and effort over the course of a career than most faculty,
including those on the tenure track. "


Pawlenty's efforts may well be interpreted as part of a broader effort to
"defund the left," by reducing the amount of money going to the education
system and allocating it to areas (security, military, etc) more likely to
support neoliberal priorities.


On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:12 PM, Trebor Scholz <scholzt at newschool.edu>wrote:

> Roughly four minutes into this conversation with Jon Stewart of "The
> Daily Show," governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, brings on the Good
> News. There really is an efficient business model for higher education
> where networked learners can simply pull down their just-in-time
> education onto their iPads, he claims.
> “Do you really think in 20 years somebody’s going to put on their
> backpack drive a half hour to the University of Minnesota from the
> suburbs, hault their keester across campus and listen to some boring
> person drone on about Spanish 101 or Econ 101? . . . Is there another
> way to deliver the service other than a one size fits all monopoly
> provided that says show up at nine o’clock on Wednesday morning for Econ
> 101, can’t I just pull that down on my iPhone or iPad whenever the heck
> I feel like it from wherever I feel like, and instead of paying
> thousands of dollars can I pay 199 for iCollege instead of 99 cents for
> iTunes, you know?”
> http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-june-10-2010/exclusive---tim-pawlenty-unedited-interview-pt--1
> Quality online courses are in fact neither cheap nor easy to teach but
> such nuance does not fit into the shtick of the Republican governor. The
> subtext of his appearance on the national stage is an alarming crusade
> by for-profit online-education companies that try to activate an
> understanding of their money-making courseware as being more deserving
> of state funding than, say, liberal arts education, which is cast as
> Luddite and stuffy -if not obsolete- ivory tower where administrators
> just don't get today's "digital natives." When students default on their
> loans, for example, let's stick the debt with the government.
> Pawlenty proposes to "put the consumer in charge, whether it’s education
> whether it’s health care to the extent we can technology can help a
> lot." and Jon Stewart retorts that, well, it's “hard to disagree with
> that.”
> Really, Jon?
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