Monday, February 24, 2014

Breakfast at the Ritz

On occasion I read the postings of formerly obscure expert on the history of refrigeration, who got his 15 minutes and then some when he published an anti-MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) tirade. His latest is entitled Higher education is not available à la carte. To which I say, WTF not? When I go to my local breakfast shop, they usually don't tell me that the tomatoes are a group requirement, and that I have to eat them whether I like it or not.

Professor Rees, PhD, RE:

But rip faculty research out of the equation and the quality of the entire product will suffer. Take me, for instance. I teach a research methods class for both undergrads and graduate students. Don’t you think I’ll do that better if I actually have time to do research? More importantly, if Duke students are willing to pay $60,000/year to have access to faculty who do actual research, what does this tell you about the quality of higher education at an institution where professors don’t have time to do any research at all?

So does that mean that students are the ones who should have to pay for the research? I suppose somebody does, but the real beneficiaries, if any, of such research is really society as a whole. Maybe it should pick up the tab.