August 31, 2006

Shot Across the Bow
— Slublog

Interesting.

The University of Illinois is in many ways a classic state university system. Urbana-Champaign is a flagship, with a history of Nobel laureates and competitive admissions. The Chicago campus has been very much on the rise in the last 10 years, expanding research and graduate programs and attracting academic stars. Springfield has more of an undergraduate and liberal arts focus.

All three campuses have some distance education programs, but the university system is now getting ready to launch a whole new campus, creating an online division that could eventually rival the individual campuses in enrollment levels, operating in a very different environment. The University of Illinois Global Campus would be operated as a separate for-profit entity, have almost entirely part-time faculty members (and none with tenure), and focus on a relatively small number of degree programs.

Obviously, this plan is extremely unpopular with faculty, because tenure is the one thing faculty will fight to the death to protect, as shown by this quote in the article from an unidentified faculty member:
“Tenure is a very critical concern because it is a hallmark of the academic freedom that is needed for intellectual inquiry,” said the professor. “If people are all part-time and non-tenure track, is that a university? Is that a faculty? It’s certainly the University of Phoenix, but it’s not traditionally what has been the University of Illinois.”
If academic freedom is so important, then I think faculty across the country should be more critical of those in their ranks who abuse it. As we've seen in the cases of Ward Churchill and Kevin Barrett, some faculty consider academic freedom a license to delve into any crackpot theory or personal tirade in the classroom. With the cost of higher education going up, people are going to be much less patient with professors who waste classroom time on political issues unrelated to their academic discipline.

Keep an eye on this one - it's going to get ugly.

Posted by: Slublog at 06:14 AM | Comments (38)
Post contains 331 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Oskiwawa!

Posted by: shawn at August 31, 2006 06:23 AM (9CC1D)

2 Considering that MIT has been giving away some of the good stuff for free (ocw.mit.edu), and that tenured profs tend to do nothing in regards to undergrad education (grad education, mostly, as those are their lab techs), this has been a long time in coming.

My sis-in-law took an online writing class from the local community college, and it sounded to me like it was just as legit as one where people's butts were in particular seats at particular times. It's a great way for a full-time working person to get an education.

Posted by: meep at August 31, 2006 06:34 AM (5j3FI)

3 it has been my experience, both teaching in a bricks-and-mortar instituion as well as later taking online classes, that there is simply no substitute for having a physical class location with regular face-to-face meetings.

this is not to say that online classes aren't valid, and i certainly appreciate the way that people (like myself) are able to use the online courses to accomodate their work lives.

but i think that in almost all cases, there is a drop-off. and i don't think the dropoff has to do with whether or not the instructor is tenured or not- it's inherent to the difference in formats.

Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 06:42 AM (G7s9a)

4

You know what would be really cool?  A movie where this boat is destroyed by terrorists, and everybody dies, except for a cabin boy:


http://www.nationcruise.com/?gclid=CNHl1fOjiocCFQ9OWAod7Sw9bQ


I hope you understand that the intentions behind the movie are good.


 


Posted by: Dan Collins at August 31, 2006 06:53 AM (Ouds1)

5 Just how much intellectual inquiry requiring protection from political pressure are tenured professors engaged in? I wouldn't mind having tenure so I can pursue my continuing inquiry into drunken studies without fear of vocational setbacks.

Tob

Posted by: William McKinley at August 31, 2006 07:05 AM (ATbKm)

6 Snakes on a ship baby, snakes on a ship.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 31, 2006 07:07 AM (ljMCs)

7 jdubious - I agree that on-site education is much more valuable than distance - there is nothing like the interaction that happens in a good course.  However, I think the sort of opportunities presented with new educational technologies will challenge the status quo of higher education, and force institutions to change.

And that may not be a bad thing.

Posted by: Slublog at August 31, 2006 07:10 AM (R8+nJ)

8 it has been my experience, both teaching in a bricks-and-mortar instituion as well as later taking online classes, that there is simply no substitute for having a physical class location with regular face-to-face meetings.

That's interesting: my experience has been that school is a series of hoops that you jump through to acquire a document that proves you attended. Most everything I actually learned, however, came by a lot of studying on my part. Nobody at school taught me how to program, and the Web was a big giant mystery. I learned the way most people learn--through doing and trying, not through "face to face" classes.

A class can teach you how to use Word, maybe. If you're such a helpless gimp that you can't experiment and try things and learn that way, a step-by-step process to teach you what the "bold" icon looks like may be useful. But that's not learning. That's training.

Online classes will allow people who are interested in learning the same thing to get together. If there's online collaboration, even better. Nothing is quite so useful for learning as to be in a crowd of people all wanting to learn as much as you do. That is not usually the case in undergraduate bricks-and-morter higher education.

Posted by: rho at August 31, 2006 07:15 AM (aLDBr)

9 I'm not tenured, and never will be. Online education will continue to grow exponentially for one reason: it generates incredible income for the "school" with minimal overhead.

It's too bad, but technology always wins. Power Point is not the answer to higher education.

Posted by: kevlarchick at August 31, 2006 07:40 AM (qeubn)

10 My sis-in-law took an online writing class from the local community college, and it sounded to me like it was just as legit as one where people's butts were in particular seats at particular times.

It's fairly common for those who teach at the University to also teach at the local communtiy college.

Posted by: shawn at August 31, 2006 07:44 AM (9CC1D)

11 Colleges need this sort of challenging. They are becoming a major strain on state budgets and students and their families, and not delivering the kind of education standards expected.

The reason they will be so opposed to this is that many colleges are expanding rapidly to fit demand for more degrees. Some have major investments involved, and some are looking for those juicy govt contracts. Web based ed fucks that for them, Big Time.

Posted by: Sinistar at August 31, 2006 07:46 AM (FUWRQ)

12 Holy underwear! Distance learning! Innocent women and children blown to bits! We've got to protect our phony baloney jobs, gentlemen. We must do something about this, immediately, immediately, immediately!

Posted by: Governor Le Petomane at August 31, 2006 08:04 AM (N0Cex)

13 it generates incredible income for the "school" with minimal overhead

Bingo. Schools are businesses.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at August 31, 2006 08:06 AM (N0Cex)

14 What's the difference between listening to a lecture in a classroom or from your computer?

Most professors and instructors don't really like to be interrupted with questions. Some say it is okay, but they are lying. Professors have given the same lectures year after year. They have heard all the ususal questions and will include the answers in their lectures.

Yet there are still a-holes in the classroom that insist on asking stupid questions. Every single class I've been in has at least one ninny who regularly disrupts the class with a stupid comment or question, or will ask a stupid question and answer it themselves to show the rest of the class how smart they are.

The classroom is good for when the students are in small groups for labs or sections. Otherwise, presence in the classroom is unnecessary.


Posted by: Bart at August 31, 2006 08:09 AM (NE2DL)

15 slublog: you make a very adulterous point. well taken.

Nothing is quite so useful for learning as to be in a crowd of people all wanting to learn as much as you do. That is not usually the case in undergraduate bricks-and-morter higher education.

possibly, rho, but that certainly was not my experience. I found that online classes lacked the kind of intellectual camaderie provided by being in a classroom with ten other people, all of whom wanted to be there. (grad school, granted.)

Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 08:13 AM (G7s9a)

16 “Tenure is a very critical concern because it is a hallmark of the academic freedom that is needed for intellectual inquiry,” said the professor. “If people are all part-time and non-tenure track, is that a university? Is that a faculty? It’s certainly the University of Phoenix, but it’s not traditionally what has been the University of Illinois.”

Yeah, imagine if Frisch had had tenure; there'd be one more whack job with more security than brains.

Posted by: John H at August 31, 2006 08:18 AM (Pay8H)

17 I have no experience with "online classrooms", so I'm speaking from ignorance. However, the online collaboration of simple message boards that focus on a single subject are incredible fonts of information, and I'm extrapolating that to online classrooms.

If online classes aren't taking advantage of those kinds of tools, it's the execution that is at fault, not the theory.

Until you get into the higher-level classes, most of the university experience is a tedious slog.

IMO, what we call a liberal arts education now used to be called "8th grade" back in them olden times.

Posted by: rho at August 31, 2006 08:37 AM (aLDBr)

18 The tragic irony for the University of Illinois: no matter how they deal with this controversy, the Hawkeyes are still gonna stomp their sorry asses all over Champaign September 23.

Go ahead and give the Illini tenure, and the 38 1/2 point spread.

Posted by: iowahawk at August 31, 2006 08:41 AM (C9YlT)

Posted by: hobgoblin at August 31, 2006 08:48 AM (p1s9n)

20 What kind of tenure would you need as faculty of an online school?  You're obviously not doing research, you're just teaching. 

My only complaint about such matters is eye strain.  I've had courses where there was no text book, all reading was from online sources, and let me tell you, you can only read so much from a monitor before you want that physical book back.

Posted by: Hal at August 31, 2006 08:53 AM (OyI5W)

21 I am working (currently on hiatus) on getting my BS in Nursing from the University of Phoenix. While I agree that there are some advantadges to going to class every week, there are other advantadges to having your class online.

One of the biggest is the fact that you can study and "go to class" when you have the time, great when have a job and a family. You can also spend as much time as you like perusing the "lecture."

There is also a lot more exchanging of ideas online, and a much more lively discussion at times through newsgroups and individual emails. While facetime is nice, I have found that I learned more in my online classes than I did in my lower-level old-school (pardon the pun) classes.

That is really interesting when you you consider that most upper division nursing courses are notoriously inane.

Posted by: Kanelin at August 31, 2006 08:58 AM (DHWob)

22 OT: New Orleans relocated to Pacific island:

The Air Force plans to fly planes over Wake Island after Typhoon Ioke passes, to see how much damage the storm inflicted on the mid-Pacific U.S. military refueling outpost.


Forecasters have predicted the storm would submerge the 2.5-square-mile island and demolish any non-concrete structures.


Posted by: Roy at August 31, 2006 09:02 AM (Kk+xJ)

23 I have problems with radical faculty pushing their views on people.

But we should be careful what we wish for. The American system of colleges and university's is the envy of the world. The influence of radical faculty is only actually a short 20 year bump on the road, which is already leveling off as an entire generation of post-60s graduates are replacing those who retire.

If we disregard those who are retiring, on the whole, things are better than they've been in years. And the tenure system will enable younger faculty to challenge the orthodoxy of senior faculty without having to worry about getting canned. If you trash the whole system just to get back at high profile nuts like Churchill, we will lose more than we gain.

We will end up with a fraudulent system where you just pay more money, fill out some forms, and get a degree that is meaningless. College in America is a real opportunity for social and economic advancement in our society. Merit is actually rewarded in most fields. And it matters more than privilege. I would hate to close that door of opportunity off to people who need it, just to get back at a handful of annoying teachers. Aside from all the BS, a poor kid from the ghetto can go to college, study hard, and become a CEO on his own merits. And he will learn how to live and succeed in an environment different from the ghetto. We need to increase the numbers of success stories, not smash the institutions down. (The radicals, by the way, tried to do it in the 60s.)

The solution is and always has been the same: Don't take a class from a crazy teacher. Inform yourself on the subject matter and the faculty member. And when in doubt, go to the library. Your ideas are and always will be your own. No need to cry "victim" about YOUR own education. And, if you really are that sensitive, shop for a school or program that won't offend you. Nobody is forcing you to read something you don't want to.

There is supply and demand operating here. I don't like dirty movies, they offend me. So, I don't go to them. If more people made the right decisions, there would be no more dirty movies. But, in a free society, I am willing to tolerate that. It's better than living in a place where they burn down embassies over political cartoons.

Posted by: Well at August 31, 2006 09:32 AM (1WdUw)

24 I found that online classes lacked the kind of intellectual camaderie provided by being in a classroom with ten other people


Not to mention slutty girls and keg parties. Let's not lose sight of the big picture here, people.

Posted by: UGAdawg at August 31, 2006 09:49 AM (9DumO)

25

When I was in school there was no online.  Would have come in handy after a late night kegger.


Univ. of Illinois-Champaigne Fighting Illini, Univ. of Illinois-Chicago Flames(?), Univ. of Illinois-Online.


Okay, we need a nickname, we need to know how good their football team is going to be, and we need to know if there is any football team in Illinois, college or pro, that can compete with the Iowa Hawkeyes.


Posted by: T Gonzo at August 31, 2006 10:33 AM (/ALBe)

26 An online university with a football team?

I'd say either the L33T Haxx0rZ or the Desk Jockeys.

Posted by: Hal at August 31, 2006 10:42 AM (OyI5W)

27

Hey, this could work.


All the classes are online.


Instead of the slutty girls at keg parties we have porno and webcams with chat.


The football team could play with Madden 2006.


We can do everything virtually!


Posted by: Entropy at August 31, 2006 10:57 AM (m6c4H)

28 Not to mention slutty girls and keg parties. Let's not lose sight of the big picture here, people.

Im taking it from your sig you went to U.Ga. I went to high school in Athens, at Cedar Shoals, in the early/mid 70s. Went to quite a few keggers etc. on campus, it was an awesome way to go through highschool!

Posted by: Kanelin at August 31, 2006 11:45 AM (DHWob)

29 "The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn’t need its brain anymore so it eats it! (It’s rather like getting tenure.)"
(Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained, p177)

Posted by: Toren at August 31, 2006 12:44 PM (3OWQR)

30 U of I online based out of Springfield,used to be Sangamon State, Ward Churchill's alma mater.

UIUC continues to have problems with Chief Illiniwek, so I suppose Chief Fugawi is out of the question.

Posted by: DaveC at August 31, 2006 02:01 PM (QiR6e)

31 Tenure is another one of those structures that was brought up as a deal, a bargain. It went this way: you protect our jobs so we can have free speech, and we'll educate the best we can without abusing this.


Well boys, you broke your end of the bargain. The experiment failed because you couldn't control yourselves, and now you're paying the price. Did you really think it would end any other way?


Freedom carries with it responsibility, always. If you cannot bear the responsibility, you lose the freedom.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2006 05:36 PM (FuM7z)

32 Freedom is not a privilege that is granted and revoked, Christopher. It is not there as a carrot to reward people for playing a particular party's politcal game. It is a gift from God. Period.

There are problems with tenure and with universities, but free speech isn't one of them.

Conservatives must be going to liberal colleges these days.

Posted by: Well at August 31, 2006 06:22 PM (DwFzZ)

33 Well you misunderstand the difference between liberty and rights.

We as a society give people the ability to exercise their rights freely until they demonstrate they are not able to do so responsibly. That's why we have jails. I you cannot conduct yourself responsibly, you don't get to have the same level of freedom.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2006 07:46 PM (FuM7z)

34 I remember learning that from the LA County Animal Control after my hounddog bit the jerk that maced her after opening our gate and walking onto our property. As they took my dog away, they said:

"Having pets at your home is not a right, it is a privilege. And privileges can be revoked for those who are irresponsible."

Posted by: Well at September 01, 2006 09:18 AM (1WdUw)

35 rjyvu eghksnuo klwxsrom oyxwnzcda kmgfced hsci ejrzps

Posted by: dgmy mgywj at January 01, 2007 05:39 AM (JExWi)

36 iMacsoft DVD Copy for Mac is specially designed Mac DVD Copy software for Mac users to copy DVD to DVD on Mac with excellent quality. It can copy D9 and D5 DVD movie collection to blank DVD discs (D9 to D9 and D5 to D5) with ease.
iPhone to PC Transfer is a smart tool for synchronizing your iPhone to your computer. It's the ideal iPhone manager to backup music,video,SMS, Contact, Call List,etc. to your computer, match your iPhone contents to iTunes and seamlessly copy files from computer to your iPhone.Latest iOS 5 supported!

Posted by: qq at October 25, 2011 11:13 PM (DMPT9)

37 Excellent weblog, many thanks a lot for your awesome posts!

Posted by: Christian Dior Bags at May 31, 2012 04:29 AM (YRSsB)

38 Sweet write-up.

Posted by: Chanel Bags at June 03, 2012 06:49 AM (ckd8E)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
94kb generated in CPU 0.38, elapsed 1.4951 seconds.
62 queries taking 1.4072 seconds, 274 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.