I know many of my readers also follow Dr. Crazy, but just in case you missed her post from earlier this week, I’ll show you a preview and encourage you to go read the whole post over at her place. First of all, she writes:
You might think that I am a person who would pass over an article about $4,000 suits in the New York Times, but you would be wrong. Because the thing is, this article has a hell of a lot to say about higher education, I think, at least from my perspective.
Interesting, no? She quotes from the story, in which the author explains why a guy making $4,000 custom-made suits only makes $50,000 a year himself. “As I watched Frew work, it became glaringly obvious why he is not rich. Like a 17th-century craftsman, he has no economy of scale.”
[T]he phrase “no economy of scale” sure did stand out to me and ring a giant bell in my head. And then I glanced back up at the preceding paragraph (the joys of reading on paper rather than electronically: you can return to a thing you otherwise would have glossed over), and I noted the following: “he explained how he customizes every aspect of its design” and then, “Modern technology cannot create anything comparable.”
Does this sound familiar to any of y’all? ‘Cause it sure does to me. Wearing non-fancy clothes to do heavy lifting? Check. Customizing every aspect of the design for the individual? Um, check. That is, in fact, the entire pedagogical premise behind “active learning” in the classroom. The inability of modern technology to create the particular product that Frew is selling? Um, YES. Look, I’ve taught online, and I have many students who’ve taken courses online, although not all of them have done so with me. They and I will tell you that it is not the same fucking thing as doing it face to face. So the question then becomes, does a $4 suit do the same thing that a $4,000 suit does? Continue Reading »