[Humanist] 24.860 cybersolutions for the education business

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Apr 7 08:32:08 CEST 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 860.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 06 Apr 2011 12:32:46 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: cybersolutions for the education business

See the following. How practical and, from our perspective, desirable are
the envisioned "cybersolutions"? On the consequences of 
thinking that higher education is a business and an explanation
for senior administrators thinking that it is, see 



> Chronicle of Higher Education
> April 5, 2011
> Governing Boards Turn to Technology to Reinvent the University
> By Jack Stripling
> Los Angeles
> Gathered for a national conference on college trusteeship here on
> Tuesday morning, board members from across the country said they are
> looking for cybersolutions to solve some of the most vexing problems
> their colleges face.
> If there was a recurring theme at the three-day conference of the
> Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, it was
> that a major rethinking of instruction through broader use of online
> learning is the only real hope for reinventing the business of higher
> education.
> Mark G. Yudof, who knows a thing or two about confronting diminished
> resources, suggested on Monday that it's a mistake to believe that
> small-scale changes in purchasing agreements or reduced course
> offerings will rescue the University of California system, where Mr.
> Yudof is president. Instead, colleges will need to aggressively alter
> the way they deliver courses, relying more heavily on online
> instruction, he said. It is a "myth" in higher education that "we can
> cut our way into survival," Mr. Yudof said.
> Enter Carol A. Twigg, who offered an alternative here on Tuesday. As
> president and chief executive of the National Center for Academic
> Transformation, Ms. Twigg has argued for more than a decade that,
> when used effectively, technology can both improve student
> achievement and reduce costs.
> "This is not rocket science," she said during a presentation.
> The center has redesigned courses on more than 100 college campuses,
> and Ms. Twigg points toward a body of evidence suggesting that course
> sections can be scaled up to serve many more students without
> sacrificing quality. While the course redesigns differ from campus to
> campus, they often involve the use of low-stakes online quizzes to
> promote student mastery of material. Such quizzes and other online
> tasks can replace the need for class time and reduce the number of
> professors required to teach a course, Ms. Twigg said. On average,
> the course redesigns reduce costs by 37 percent, she said.
> Ms. Twigg's work is often praised by online-learning advocates, but
> the model is hardly pervasive in higher education, and some are
> concerned about whether large classes undermine an educational
> experience. That said, Ms. Twigg tried to put to rest the notion that
> faculty resistance to course transformations is what's holding
> colleges back. Indeed, she not-too-subtly suggested that some of the
> people in her audience might be to blame for colleges being rather
> slow to embrace a technological revolution in the classroom.
> "In our view, the problem is lack of leadership at all levels," she
> said.
> Several of the center's course transformations have led to a doubling
> of class sizes, and some sections have more than 1,000 students. It's
> a model that not only has appeal to trustees who want to cut costs,
> but also to policy makers who are concerned about educational
> attainment in the United States.
> Eduardo M. Ochoa, assistant secretary for postsecondary education at
> the U.S. Department of Education, said at a panel session on Monday
> that "less labor-intensive" instruction methods will be required to
> increase the nation's number of college graduates. He conceded that
> technology presents upfront costs for colleges. But, he said,
> "eventually, the way things are done becomes qualitatively
> different."

Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's
College London; Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western
Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org);
Editor, Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

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