[iDC] iCollege Re-run

Bernard Roddy roddybp at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 10 14:37:38 UTC 2011

Dropping into this list again, I find it interesting that there's both a distaste for higher education's elitist concerns and an insistence on protecting faculty and students from the watering down of an education directed by market forces.  Which does reading Heidegger represent, an expression of the problem, or precisely what is to be protected?  An activist education and an ivory tower research program share a distaste for the kind of discussion you can expect on a popular television show.  But if enrollment numbers can be expected to dwindle when the live classroom experience neglects to speak a language that engages student experience, the challenges of teaching include those presented by an evironment hostile to intellectuals (Oklahoma).  Small classes are to be expected, and from a research perspective are desirable, when the material is substantial, online or not.  Given the revenue-generating power of college athletics programs, the
 importance of military bases and the criminal justice system in the local economy, and the degree to which a demand for skills that are employable reduces the educational level of conversation, how does a "fruitful exchange" about "The Daily Show" compare to an "academic" one about Heidegger?  Which one gives pride of place to education?



From: Trebor Scholz <scholzt at newschool.edu>
To: idc at mailman.thing.net
Sent: Friday, September 9, 2011 9:24 AM
Subject: [iDC] iCollege Re-run

About a year ago, we had a fruitful exchange about Gov. Tim Pawlenty's
dreams of the privatization of education.
This list has grown quite a bit since then and I am re-posting it for
all iDC newbies. 

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?” 


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

Really, Jon? 



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