Fed up, Gov. Jerry Brown has given his blessing to popular online course platform, Udacity, to partner with San Jose State University for the ultra-low cost online lower-division and remedial classes. The tiny pilot of algebra and statistics courses will be limited to just 300 students, half from SJSU and half from high schools and community colleges. If successful, the pilot may change the face of college, with lower-tier and remedial lectures replaced entirely by less-expensive online courses.
Today, the largest university system in the world, the California State University system, announced a pilot for $150 lower-division online courses at one of its campuses — a move that spells the end of higher education as we know it. Lower-division courses are the financial backbone of many part-time faculty and departments (especially the humanities). As someone who has taught large courses at a University of California, I can assure readers that my job could have easily been automated. Most of college–the expansive campuses and large lecture halls–will crumble into ghost towns as budget-strapped schools herd students online.
[Note: at the end of this article, I offer a timeline for how this all comes crumbling down]
Traditionally, droves of unprepared teenagers were crammed into the faceless lecture halls of lower-division and remedial courses. “They graduate from high school, but they cannot pass our elementary math and English placement tests,”…
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