Once again, every fool and his monkey has a mile-long opinion on how academics should do their jobs. The New York Times has continued its assault on higher education by publishing a rambling, stupid piece by some strange creature called Friedman who mistakenly believes his uninformed rantings on higher ed are so useful that they need to be shared with the general public.
This is how the piece starts, demonstrating from the beginning that its author is a sad, useless blockhead:
I just spent the last two days at a great conference convened by M.I.T. and Harvard on “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education” — a k a “How can colleges charge $50,000 a year if my kid can learn it all free from massive open online courses?”
I’m not sure if Friedman is really an idiot or is just faking to be one better to complete the corrupt assignment he has been given by his worthless rag. Can he really fail to realize that the prestige and the connections people pay for when they hand over $50K per year for an Ivy League diploma are not awarded by any stupid MOOC*? I understand that the real journalism, the kind where people did some sort of research before publishing their outpourings, is dead and gone. But would it have killed Friedman to call any job recruiter and ask whether s/he would find it easier to place a candidate who has a BSc or a BA from Princeton or a piece of toilet paper from a MOOC?
We all know that I’m not a huge fan of the Ivies (to put it mildly). However, the problems of Harvard – and of any actual college – do not exist on the same level as the problems of MOOCs. People who want to waste their time on MOOCs should, of course, feel free to do so. I hope for their sake that somebody somewhere is clueless enough to offer them some sort of a job.
I keep hearing (especially from Inside Higher Ed) that my dislike of MOOCs comes from a sense of fear and envy. I’m supposed to be terrified of MOOCs’ brilliant performance that is about to push me out of my job. Supposedly, the moment the students experience the joy of reading some crap online together with 25,000 other people, they will not want me any longer.
Friedman and Co can stop worrying about me and other real educators, however. These journalists are projecting their own very well-justified fears about their profession dying out onto other professions. Contrary to their beliefs, however, the value of a real degree from a real educational institution will continue to grow. Let the lazy waste their time and energy on MOOCs if they have nothing better to do with their lives. They will be easily defeated in the competition of life by those who made a smarter choice.
* “A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education and often use open educational resources. Typically they do not offer academic credit or charge tuition fees. Only about 10% of the tens of thousands of students who may sign up complete the course.”