Akron AAUP Protecting Academic Freedom For a Free Society
The University of Akron Chapter |
American Association of University Professors

The trend towards more online course offerings, and the new phenomenon of M.O.O.C.s–massive open online courses–is stimulating growth and profit potential in a kind of academic underworld.  Here are some excerpts from an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s online “Wired Campus” describing two new web sites.
One new site is sure to worry officials embracing massive open online courses, or MOOC’s. It’s called We Take Your Class, and its marketing text says: “We do it all. Tests, Homework, Discussions, Projects, and More!” After all, the site states, “Life is too short to spend time on courses you have no interest in.”
Meanwhile, another relatively new Web site actually promises that former professors will be the ones writing term papers for hire. The site, Unemployed Professors, offers a commentary on higher education by purporting to hire disenchanted academics to complete assignments for students.
“This project is all about helping those who have been screwed/hosed/cheated by the academic system earn a living wage,” said Professor Fishnets. “The demise of the tenure system, the rise of adjuncts living under the poverty line, and the corporatization of the university are all developments that embody how the latter has screwed an entire generation of often competent academics. This is thus an ironic gesture oriented toward preserving living wages, protesting the over-commoditization of education, and making mad money—of course.”
University administrators will have to address a simple issue:
Which is more important: the reputation of the university, the institution’s academic integrity and the academic content represented by a diploma, or distributing the university’s “brand” far and wide across the world to seek potentially vast profits…no matter the cost?
As today is the last day of professional baseball’s regular season and the eve of the playoff races we thought a quote from Mr. Yogi Berra would be appropriate here:
“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
You can read the entire article by Alisha Azevedo at the Wired Campus blog on The Chronicle’s website here.

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