Faculty push back against online course vendors

There have been several recent articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education reporting on faculty concerns with the direction they fear their campuses are taking with online education. In an article entitled Faculty Backlash Grows Against Online Partnerships, Steve Kolowich reported that: “Philosophy professors at San Jose State University last week wrote an open letter saying they refused to use material from an edX course, taught by a famous Harvard University professor, for fear that California State University administrators were angling for a way to eventually gut their department.”

“At Duke University a week earlier, an undergraduate-faculty council voted down a push by the provost’s office to offer small online courses for credit through 2U, a company that sells an online platform and support services to colleges.”

“Those rebuttals followed closely the decision by the Amherst College faculty to reject an invitation to produce massive open online courses through edX.”

Faculty express concerns about the quality of the educational process, which includes student engagement with faculty who know them. They express concern about “how MOOCs might deepen the divide between the wealthy universities that produce them and the less-wealthy institutions that would buy licenses to use those MOOCs from providers like edX.” Faculty also “worry that the widespread use of online courses will damage departments in public universities facing budgetary pressures.”

Read the full article and share your thoughts here.

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