And the worst part is that this was all announced beforehand. In 2011 the Illinois Board of Higher Education described exactly the education system that exists today. One or two in-person schools statewide for those who can afford them. Online learning you can do “in the car or in your pyjamas” for everybody else.

In 2011 there wasn’t the bandwidth needed to carry this out. But everybody knew the bandwidth was going to appear soon.

Then it appeared, and we are where we are.

For almost a decade I was pestering everybody in sight with this IBHE plan. Everybody shrugged and told me I was exaggerating. Now we are all living it but people still refuse to see what’s going on.

9 thoughts on “Kassandra

  1. “Everybody shrugged and told me I was exaggerating”

    I think a lot of educators (especially in the US) just don’t like students very much… how is sitting in your pajamas or driving and listening to de facto (not very good) podcasts comparable to a real life environment where you meet different people with different experiences and different attitudes and values?
    For higher education the human factor of meeting different people (especially fellow students but also faculty both as teachers and in more informal circumstances and even support staff ) has always been the prime value.
    I just cannot fathom how people who are supposed to be educators have such contempt for their students.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I held a department meeting on Friday. I made all these points. I practically pleaded with people to think it through. But it was completely useless. I’m still reeling from how badly I failed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “pleaded with people to think it through. But it was completely useless”

        Logic is almost completely useless in convincing people… they haven’t followed logic so far why would they change now.

        You need to tie online teaching to something they can’t support… the first place is “Online teaching is White Supremacy”…
        “How will minority students qualify to study here if structural racism prevents them from finishing high school?”
        “Online Education – the New Jim Crow”.
        You might feel dirty doing that (and it might not work coming from you by now).
        But that’s one way that might have some chance at success (the fact that online education is doing massive damage to poor (esp minority) students in primary and secondary education is a bonus.

        Colleague: My students love online classes!
        You: I never figured you for a racist before (shaking your head and walking away).

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I am at an R1 and this is so true. A number of my colleagues who are excellent researchers consider teaching to be a tax on the privilege of doing research, rather than a central part of the job and the university’s mission. If we don’t teach, we’re not a university FFS. A bunch of colleagues strike me as afraid of undergraduates because they (the colleagues) get destroyed in student evaluations and rightly so (I know because I’ve sat in on a bunch of their classes); the rest do what the minimum they must, but not more, and consider teaching the necessary evil.

      Not all of us, though. Some of us have been teaching in person the whole time. I love teaching in person and most students get much more from it than from even the world’s most carefully crafted online course. Anyone who purports to be an educator but doesn’t understand that, yes, learning has to do with the teacher’s mastery of material and clarity of communication, but it is also very much about everything else — the emotional connections to instructor and classmates, all the fine details of what happens when a bunch of people think hard and talk about something, struggling with homework together with other students, having small epiphanies in office hours or other random times. The emotional imprint of the whole experience is very important for what gets retained and what doesn’t.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. At least, at your university people do research. At mine, about 80% of tenured faculty do none. How they justify drawing professorial salaries on the strength of a few hours’ teaching a week is something I will never comprehend. Service has been mostly cancelled, so there’s no committee work. We no longer require student evaluations of teaching. Or any evaluations of anything because, apparently, COVID suffering is too intense for people to maintain any standards. And nobody is seeing that this is an unsustainable model.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Clarissa, are people acknowledging that this is not ideal at all? Or are they all in love with it?

    People donate because they have fond memories of teachers. Or their department. Or the athletic team. Maybe point out there is zero payout from alumni donations for online meetings?

    I cannot tell you how many times grasping a concept or an idea happens when you are talking to a human being versus repeating Pearson nonsense over and over. Just me and the way I learn? And this is very basic stuff.


    1. Well, students hate it. HATE IT. As for professors, they unanimously insist that remote learning is better. Students are more engaged, they participate more, they learn more.

      I think they are other delusional or dishonest. But when I cast any doubt on this, the answer is always that I must be a bad teacher. Because if I were a good teacher, my remote teaching would be amazing.

      Of course, we canceled student evaluations of teaching, so there’s conveniently no way to find out what students actually think of these online courses.

      Can you tell me why you and I understand that learning doesn’t happen on a screen like it does in the company of humans but all these academics don’t?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “why you and I understand that learning doesn’t happen on a screen like it does in the company of humans but all these academics don’t”

        They’re lazy fuckwits? They’ve bought the party line? No one really believes it but they think (for some reason) they have to say so in public?

        Where I am students are sick of it (and apparently complaining – some colleagues are a little nervous about that).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. All the students are sick of it and the very classes faculty say are so wonderful because they are online, the students say are not wonderful because they are online. ALTHOUGH I will say that the one class I have that has a Zoom option in it, gets more people on Zoom than in person. So, while they say they don’t like remote, it tends to be what they choose.

    Faculty seem to say their online classes are great for fear they will be accused of “not understanding technology.” But they don’t mind sounding like they’re not interested in the students.

    I’ve been going on about this since the online push started earlier this century and nobody has believed me. They especially do not believe me when I point out that the instructor can be anywhere, including in a low-wage country. In fact our local community college, last I heard, was hiring from low-wage countries. “The lead instructor will always be U.S.,” they said. But not necessarily physically present. And people refuse to recognize how detrimental that will be. So it’s all true — I guess — people don’t like their jobs. Or don’t like life, I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

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