Readings: The publication rate of stories about MOOC is amazing. I’ve tried to give you a sense of some of the recent ones, but it’s impossible to keep this up-to-date. This is a sampling.
Interviews: Today was busy, but I’ll email the staffers of some of the first set of interviewees tonight. I still need info on who the contact people are for a couple of groups.
A reflection on higher education today?: The news at Rutgers University with the basketball coach abuse scandal could be a case study for a final exam on the material in this course. I won’t repeat the whole story if those are those who haven’t been reading about it, but basically, a basketball coach has been fired for being physically and verbally abusive to his players, caught on video tape by a former employee. He was making $750K a year and part of the motive for his hiring was to get Rutgers into the Big Ten, where they would get more $ and more prestige. The coach’s boss, the athletic director, was a former TV executive who had never run a college program or been a coach, but had experience doing national broadcasts of college games. This person is likely to be fired. The Rutgers president was hired less than a year ago to oversee a merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, a failing medical center. The State of NJ gave Rutgers control over the medical school because the officials believed that a merger would attract “more research money and therefore more prestige to Rutgers” (NY Times quote). He may be on his way out. There are serious calls to fire the president too, as the abuse was known months ago and there was no serious action taken (shades of Penn State). High salaried administrators, cover-ups, untrammeled ambition to increase money and prestige, and scandal potentially eliminating the “living logo” when the logo is sullied — sounds like a show on cable TV. And this is an institution of higher education.
For interest, I looked up what their mission is: “Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to turning knowledge into solutions for local, national, and global communities. As it was at our founding in 1766, the heart of our mission is preparing students to become productive members of society and good citizens of the world. Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate and postdoctoral; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement. Rutgers is New Jersey’s land-grant institution and one of the nation’s foremost research universities, and as such, we educate, make discoveries, serve as an engine of economic growth, and generate ideas for improving people’s lives.” I’d give them a C-, at least for this semester.
Double majors: I have also attached a reading from the Chronicle on a study of the impact of double majoring along with the on-line commentary. This is not a required reading but I thought it was interesting in light of the high frequency of double majors in the class. double majors
See you next week.