Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads

On the topic of massively open online courses, an academic says what many of us who teach online are thinking.

Do you really WANT TO SAVE SOME MONEY using INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY? Ok, try this one on for size. Why weren’t you blathering on asking why the heck we all bought Blackboard or if you really want to go into the dark ages, WebCT, for years and then kept buying it when we had a less expensive (though not free, if you look at support and management costs) open-source alternative? Especially asking why institutions that didn’t even necessarily need a course management system bought them and got stuck with them and came to see them as indispensible when at least some of the time they were really just exotic devices for password-walling-off fair-use excerpts of material used in classes?

No, no, even better. All the institutions who can create consortia and companies to offer MOOCs seemingly on a wild impulse, try asking why have they been incapable of creating far bigger and more ambitious consortia for open-access publishing of scholarly work, something that’s been technically and institutionally plausible for a decade. I’ve always heard that the first problem is the stubborn desire of individual institutions to go it alone, maintain their independent identity. But suddenly hey presto! MOOC-collaborations galore. Maybe it’s because the for-profit publishers whose monopoly pricing has punched hundreds of universities in their unmentionables didn’t want an open-access world to come into being, and whispered in the right ears. If the idea of big savings and ethical transformation in higher education bundled together makes you so hot you want to call your publisher right now and pitch “The World Is Open” or some such thing, this is your meal ticket, not MOOCs. MOOCs are the freak-show tent off to the side by comparison.

via Easily Distracted.