The Microsoft magnate-cum-philanthropist Bill Gates made waves in the community-college world a few weeks ago when hesuggested that two-year colleges should use more MOOCs.
Most of us who actually teach community-college students understand that, while there may be a place for MOOCs in the curriculum, relying on them too heavily would be a mistake. (I wrote about this extensively in “A Massively Bad Idea,” and I won’t reiterate those arguments here.) But the notion of MOOCs as some sort of educational panacea dovetails neatly with Gates’s constant championing of online learning and what seems to be his overall vision for higher education.
I don’t begrudge the man his vision, nor does it bother me that he uses his millions to advance it. That’s his right, and I don’t doubt that he believes he’s doing good.
I just think he’s wrong. I think much of what he assumes would be good for higher education would actually be bad for higher education—and, more specifically, for community-college students. And I believe that faculty members, along with responsible administrators and legislators, have a duty to stand up and say, “No, that’s not going to work. It’s not a good idea.” <Read more.>