Bubbles and Cash Cows

The trouble with metaphors is that they become habits and we keep using them well beyond the point that they are meaningful. I was reading, “”Why Are So Many Students Still Failing Online,” and I thought: that technology-will-fix-eduction bubble is still not quite fully burst… Is it a slow motion bubble? What so striking about the piece is not that it’s so full of common sense, but that the writer, Rob Jenkins, seems so defensive about asserting common sense.

“We can’t teach everything online, nor should we try”? Who would argue with that? The fact that Jenkins feels compelled to defend this idea, even jokingly, is symptomatic of the problems– I’ve called it decadence– in U.S. higher education: common is heretical. There’s no shortage of people who are mature and skilled enough to succeed at online learning. As usual, administrations are focused on milking the cash cow, not education. The bubble is dead; long live the cash cow.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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