Shootout At The MOOC Corral

by Watson Scott Swail, President and CEO of Educational Policy Institute and EPI International

This morning, an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, titled Why Professors at San Jose State Won’t Use a Harvard Professor’s MOOC, illustrates an upcoming shootout at the MOOC Corral. San Jose State University professors are rejecting a Harvard MOOC course that is being forced upon them by the administration. In a letter to the administration, the professors see this push as a process to “replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.” They state that it is better to have students taught by a live professor rather than by a video version of a Harvard professor. And, of course, they are right and they are wrong. This is the proverbial rock and a hard place.

I’ve written before about many of the challenges facing higher education. At the foremost is the increasing “cost” of higher education. That is, the cost drivers which result in higher prices for taxpayers and users (e.g., students; parents; corporations). Higher education is enormously expensive and continually rises above inflation due to the high cost of human resources, which take up approximately 80-85 percent of institution budgets. In the future, we must find a way of recasting the cost structure of higher education. READ MORE


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