Who Wants Online Education?

The administration, by the way, doesn’t want us to be stuck in an online format for the next academic year. They suspect we don’t work enough when we are at home and feel like we don’t earn our keep.

The students are hating the online format profoundly.

It’s the faculty who are driving the madness. They are enjoying sitting at home doing nothing and still getting paid. Plus, it’s politically expedient, so why not?

I used to believe in the “evil administration” trope but now I know that every idiotic thing in academia is fervently desired by faculty. Even the existence of a mushrooming administration is. I’m still traumatized over how 96% of faculty at my college voted for an institution of a new deanlet of diversity position in addition to two university-wide diversity offices.

16 thoughts on “Who Wants Online Education?

  1. Work, schmork.
    If everything is online you’ll end up competing with University of Phoenix or ASU or community college. Because why pay more for some Pearson bullshit if it’s all the same everywhere you could go and you don’t really benefit from the alum network? What will happen to alumni giving?

    What special insights & connections will your career office have over the community college if everything on campus and in the county is shut down? What mentorships will happen under what processes?

    And also, what will happen to the room and board fees? What will happen to the administration and the people who will not have a job if the campus is closed? What will happen to the sports programs and that Title IX money?

    I don’t think they are thinking about pedagogy.


  2. There are a few faculty who are into it but I don’t get it, they may have nice studios to broadcast from or something, I just don’t like peering into a screen like that.


    1. Our union conducted a survey and over 90% of faculty support staying online until January at least. I almost fell off my chair. They are now sharing stories about how wonderful online teaching is and how it allows them to be better teachers.

      To say that I’m annoyed is to say too little.


      1. “sharing stories about how wonderful online teaching is”

        Did anyone bother to ask the students?

        “how it allows them to be better teachers”

        Again, do they have student testimonials to back this up?


        1. We have cancelled student feedback for this semester. :-)))) Seriously, though. We decided it’s better not to find out what students are thinking.

          Shockingly, enrollments for next semester dropped off a cliff. I have no idea why.


            1. You don’t know how right you are. I had a really crazy discussion the other day with people who sincerely don’t understand why enrollment numbers changed so much since February.

              I don’t want to condescend but I found myself asking, “have you noticed anything that happened since February? Anything at all?”


      2. Who knows whether it makes them better teachers? Truly.

        It’s not like most of the faculty had a well designed course sitting on the computer waiting to be deployed. They slapped some stuff together for this semester.

        More relevant:

        How old and/or fat are most of the faculty and how many have preexisting conditions? Or live with people who do?

        What was the response rate to the survey?


  3. Will the faculty still be OK if teaching online in the fall semester results in an appropriate pay cut?

    If I were a student, I would not want to pay more than 50% of the usual tuition if I’m not going to get the major benefit of a college education. I imagine many would elect to just not enroll this semester.

    Also, I don’t understand what makes people think that things will be any better by January. If anything it might be worse with typical influenza season in full swing. Will they be OK with online only until summer next year?


  4. I suspect a lot of faculty are doing much less work than they usually do. Many people at my university went for completely asynchronous teaching when this started, they are just posting stuff, grading, answering e-mails, and having zero live interaction with the students. (To be fair, we got all sorts of dire warnings about how Zoom and other video based technologies might all grind to a halt because of overuse.) I have been having regular meetings with my classes on Zoom, we can’t do everything we would have done in a normal semester, but we see each other regularly and have continued to function as groups. Several of my students have told me that they feel totally abandoned by faculty in other courses who aren’t doing any live teaching with them.


    1. I teach only asynchronously because I’m with a 4-year-old all day. There’s no way of convincing her not to participate if she feels fun is being had without her. It’s ridiculous for a language course but I’ve had to do it with no live interaction at all. I hate it, students hate it, but there’s no viable alternative.


      1. There’s no way I could be doing all of these Zoom sessions if I had a child. It’s way more work than teaching regular courses and the results are worse. But I know people who’ve gone all asynchronous and dropped half of the material from their courses who don’t even have a dog to walk or cat to feed, much less a toddler in the house. I think those are the ones who want to keep this up in the fall. I’ve asked my students and none of them are happy with how things are going. I am dreading the possibility of having to teach my fall courses online, my fall load is always heavy and will be a miserable slog online.


        1. Gosh, I have such great courses planned for the Fall. New readings, great material. But I have no idea how to do it online. It’s not the kind of stuff that lends itself well to online. And the classrooms are big (35 and 45). It’s very frustrating to think that this might all have to go to the online format.


  5. My husband is in a respiratory therapy program. They’ve gone to all-online. Even clinicals and labs. Which means that now, instead of going with an actual doctor who’s seeing actual patients, and listening to the lungs of actual sick people, they’re now watching videos about it online. They’re supposed to be learning to intubate people this summer. No idea how they’re supposed to do that over the internet… So on behalf of all the future patients his class deals with, I hope they go back to regular classes this summer.


  6. My classes this semester were relatively small and we just Zoomed. It wasn’t as good as in person, I don’t feel, and it was a lot more work somehow because not everyone could really Zoom, it depended on what had happened to them being thrown off campus, so I had to have other asynchronous activities for them. And I’d never taught remotely / online before. And I cut out some material and was kind of casual, and cut out some assignments so they stressed less and I graded less. Still it felt like and I think was more work and less value than in person, although we survived and we did do things in quarantine like read novels and discuss them, which is what you’re supposed to do in lit. Regular class is a lot easier and more fun, and we’d have gotten through more as well.


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