Tuesday, April 30, 2013
A Counterfeit Cash Cow
Go ahead and criticize developmental classes if you want, but get it right. They’re well-intended, but flawed, holdovers from an earlier time. They’re not anti-student conspiracies, financial aid scams, or profit centers. If they were, the for-profit colleges would have embraced them. Instead, the for-profits ducked them, and community colleges are starting to figure out that the for-profits may have had a point, even if for different reasons. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that it’s nefarious. It may just be mistaken.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Structural Problems, Individual Solutions
Once we accept the idea of structural explanations, then the whole concept of “deserving victims” falls apart. The academic job market didn’t fall off a cliff in 2009 because graduate students suddenly got worse. So blaming those erstwhile students for faring badly in the market doesn’t make sense. To the extent that it’s possible to find other pathways for some talented people to contribute to their chosen field and support themselves, by all means, let’s do that. Probably, some people will decide to find other ways to make a living; there’s no shame in that. But let’s stop playing heroes and villains, deserving and undeserving. Ultimately, it’s not about that. And it’s arrogant and unseemly to pretend that it is.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
“Fail Fast:” Fumbling Towards a Theory
I’m fumbling towards a theory, but I’m not there yet. Wise and worldly readers, what would “fail fast” look like in an academic context?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Point of Personal Privilege
That is all.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Thoughts on “State U Online”
These are real issues, but they’re signs that Fishman’s report is asking a host of great questions. It’s thorough, thoughtful, and incredibly timely. It’s even concrete, in a lot of ways. Read it, argue with it, build on it. I don’t know that I’m entirely ready for a “State (or National) U,” but at least I understand the question better now. Nicely done.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Building A Tech Playground
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Not a Slow News Week
Meanwhile, the AACC conference is going on in San Francisco. I had hoped to make it, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year. Wise and worldly readers who are there, I’m relying on you...
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
It does. I needed that.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
What If Colleges Used Social Media Well?
Wise and worldly readers, what would colleges look like if they used social media well?
Monday, April 15, 2013
Threats and Randomness
On campus, we’ll return to the sad but necessary work of doing what we can reasonably do to keep people safe. And we’ll just have to accept that at some point, that’s all we can do. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking about my friends in Boston.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
The problem isn’t a reduced demand for education. I have yet to see a convincing argument that we’d be better off throwing everyone into the workforce after high school, or even that we’d be better off if we returned to the college-going rates of, say, 1940. That’s not the issue. The issue is that eventually, someone will drop the hot potato. Rather than digging in our heels to defend an idealized past, we’d be much better off shaping the future. The transition may not be pretty -- they rarely are -- but it’s necessary, and it may be great. Forty years of hot potato is enough. It’s time to let go of some pieties and start experimenting.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Remember the Canon Wars?
But it’s still a bit jarring to see the folks who once styled themselves the guardians of civilization become, proudly, the barbarians at the gates. Their predecessors would have been appalled. They would have accused the current crop of mindless instrumentalism, of selling their birthright for a mess of pottage. And they would have had a point.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The Light is Better Over Here
The improved scorecard isn’t supposed to be used for inter-institutional comparisons, but it will be. It can’t not. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if the people doing the comparisons know what they’re seeing. Any scorecard will be reductionist by definition; the key is in getting the essentials right. This is far better than anything else I’ve seen so far. Well done, California. Now you just have to get the whole “tuition” thing right, and you’ll be on your way.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
The Nerdy Jam Session
Soon the team will go its separate ways, never to be reconstituted. The report will be its legacy. I’ll have to wait for the next nerdy jam session.