Joe Redish in his blog The Unabashed Academic had a MOOC-related post a year and half ago that I only just came across today: Lose the lecture. The post basically makes the same point that I have made in posts like Teaching by hand and What online education cannot teach:
But the transformations that are increasingly pressed on us by Deans and Provost focused on this year’s bottom line, take us further from that value that only we can add and move us towards delivering education that is increasingly equivalent to what the on-line colleges can deliver. This is a recipe for disaster. Brick-and-mortars can’t compete financially with online institutions on their own turf. We have too many maintenance costs.
Those academic Chairs, Deans, and Provosts who think that the new technology will make it cheaper to deliver their product with fewer faculty (and larger classes) are undermining the future of their own universities. We should be moving in the opposite direction, providing students with more faculty interaction, more group learning environments, and more hands-on activities.
I doubt that I could convince our current dean of this—he manages as if he wants us to be a research institute in Silicon Valley rather than a university in Santa Cruz. I’m sure that research institutes are profitable than public universities, but the swing away from teaching in the past decade has been rather extreme.