In his recent Salon article, Andrew Leonard put in words something that has been nagging at me for months, namely, the fact that humanities disciplines are badly served by the higher ed MOOC hype. It has been common to analogize the rise of the MOOC (and, more generally, the push to deliver more online courses as a way of lowering costs) to seemingly similar revolutions in the music and news industries. As Leonard perceptively observes, however:
"it’s become clear to me that there is a crucial difference in how the Internet’s remaking of higher education is qualitatively different than what we’ve seen with recorded music and newspapers. There’s a political context to the transformation. Higher education is in crisis because costs are rising at the same time that public funding support is falling. That decline in public support is no accident. Conservatives don’t like big government and they don’t like taxes, and increasingly, they don’t even like the entire way that the humanities are taught in the United States."
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