I love the Amherst faculty’s commitment to educational rather than “edupreneurial” (or edupredatory) values. To be sure, there was the huge issue of institutional mission versus the mission–so far as anyone can figure it out–of these unproven for-profit ventures we call MOOCs:
Some Amherst faculty concerns about edX were specific to Amherst. For instance, faculty asked, are MOOCs, which enroll tens of thousands of students, compatible with Amherst’s mission to provide education in a “purposefully small residential community” and “through close colloquy?”
Then there was the issue of the ill-thought out vision of edX itself, as well as the sheer incompetence on display in edX’s sales approach, compared to the thought that the Amherst faculty had invested:
EdX also tried to sell Amherst by dispatching representatives to the campus over the course of several months. Those trips did not assuage concerns and, at some points, may have inflamed them, according to faculty members.
Adam Sitze, an assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, opposed efforts to join edX. He said faculty members raised questions that edX “didn’t and in some cases couldn’t” respond to.
“Relative to the internal study of MOOCs that we did, edX was not persuasive,” Sitze said.
There was also the bald fact that edX put a $hitty offer on the table. Behold, the Underpants Gnome theory for how to make money on the interwebz! Continue Reading »