Teaching and Learning History

$10,000 BA Online Degree in Texas

  • 1.  $10,000 BA Online Degree in Texas

    Posted 02-05-2014 06:01:00 PM
    Please see the link for a story on a Texas $10,000 BA degree.

    http://www.texastribune.org/2014/02/05/new-degree-available-around-10k-books-included/

    For those unfamiliar with Texas, six hours of history is required for all BA and BS degrees at public universities. My colleague William Carter helped develop the United States history courses (US Hist. 1301 and 1302) for this degree utilizing the first draft of the AHA Tuning Project outcomes.  

    The shift to modular teaching is becoming popular among the Bill and Melinda Gates, Lumina, and other foundations interested in reshaping education. So while there is concern about MOOCs, I think the modular approach with the elimination of instructors or the limiting of their use is particularly a greater issue of concern. Instructors create the course, but then advisors, and graders take over the course. This is how labor costs is reduced. However, during the first year the faculty that created the courses will oversee them.  

    Besides the issue of reducing the educational workforce, I think the issue of history as a educational endeavor that uses the research loop to improve instruction is in danger as human capital (faculty value) is eliminated as a labor saving approach. Intellectual innovation is reduced and/or lost in proportion to the reduction of faculty.

    I would like to hear everyone's thoughts.  

    -------------------------------------------
    Trinidad Gonzales
    South Texas Coll.
    McAllen TX
    tgonzale@southtexascollege.edu
    -------------------------------------------


  • 2.  RE:$10,000 BA Online Degree in Texas

    Posted 02-06-2014 11:31:00 AM

    Trinidad brings up a number of important questions. There are many would-be reformers, most of whom surely have the best of intentions. I hope these educators will forgive my skepticism, as there are others who have little teaching experience and approach as friends. Automated courses are not being created to help students; they are designed to eliminate faculty positions. But our concern transcends self-interest. We know that there can be no education without educators, just as there can be no art without artists. And we refuse to live in a world without art or education.  

    Can a teacher be replaced by a machine or some combination of advisors and graders? If our job is simply to convey content, I believe that we are vulnerable to the efficiencies produced by so-called innovations. A machine is available 24/7 and students can skip directly to a particular piece of content. But the same is true of books. The printing press failed to eliminate the church or the schoolhouse. I believe that education will survive Bill Gates.  

    So why do we still have jobs, if MOOCs (to say nothing of cassettes and laser discs) can convey content more efficiently and graders might be indentured at even lower wages than teachers? There is nothing particularly innovative in replacing experienced craftsmen with semi-skilled laborers and machines. As I write this, ten thousand historians are teaching a new group of students the same thing they taught the last group of students. And nearly every one of those teachers and students has a device in their pocket that can record and broadcast the entirety of last semester's content.

    In a copy-and-paste culture, why do we still value something as inefficient as individual instruction with a subject expert? What is the value of the original? What is the value of a teacher?  

    As historians, we devote our lives to content. But education is not about content; education is about change. Meaningful change has never been easy, and it is seldom efficient.
    As educators, we get goose bumps when we see the change in students from freshmen to seniors. Have any of us expressed our pride in terms of a student's improved understanding of the Teapot Dome Scandal? Delivery systems are wonderful tools because content is essential to the process of education. But content is education in the same sense that clay is art and notes are music. Content is the medium we work with. Would anyone propose closing an artist's studio simply because we can buy paint online? No matter what the rest of the world assumes a college is, we must remember that education is service.
     
    One of the greatest educational fundraisers proclaimed that "good teachers and plenty of money to pay them" would do more to solve the problems of his era than any other measure. I'm not convinced that he would suggest anything different today.

    Education is a prescription for change. How do we get Bill Gates and others to stop peddling the placebo?

    -------------------------------------------
    David Trowbridge
    Marshall Univ.
    Huntington WV
    david.trowbridge@marshall.edu
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    http://www.texastribune.org/2014/02/05/new-degree-available-around-10k-books-included/

    For those unfamiliar with Texas, six hours of history is required for all BA and BS degrees at public universities. My colleague William Carter helped develop the United States history courses (US Hist. 1301 and 1302) for this degree utilizing the first draft of the AHA Tuning Project outcomes.  

    The shift to modular teaching is becoming popular among the Bill and Melinda Gates, Lumina, and other foundations interested in reshaping education. So while there is concern about MOOCs, I think the modular approach with the elimination of instructors or the limiting of their use is particularly a greater issue of concern. Instructors create the course, but then advisors, and graders take over the course. This is how labor costs is reduced. However, during the first year the faculty that created the courses will oversee them.  

    Besides the issue of reducing the educational workforce, I think the issue of history as a educational endeavor that uses the research loop to improve instruction is in danger as human capital (faculty value) is eliminated as a labor saving approach. Intellectual innovation is reduced and/or lost in proportion to the reduction of faculty.

    I would like to hear everyone's thoughts.  

    -------------------------------------------
    Trinidad Gonzales
    South Texas Coll.
    McAllen TX
    tgonzale@southtexascollege.edu
    -------------------------------------------






  • 3.  RE:$10,000 BA Online Degree in Texas

    Posted 02-06-2014 12:48:00 PM
    Thanks for the info, Trini. 

    jc

    -------------------------------------------
    Jaime Cardenas
    Seattle Central Comm. Coll.
    Seattle WA
    jaime.cardenas@seattlecolleges.edu
    -------------------------------------------