Posts Tagged: The Academy

Your Massively Open Offline College Is Broken

I wrote a thing last fall about massive open online courses (MOOCs, in the parlance), and the challenge that free or cheap online classes pose to business as usual in higher ed. In that piece, I compared the people running colleges today to music industry executives in the age of Napster. (This was not a flattering comparison.) Aaron Bady, a cultural critic and doctoral candidate at Berkeley, objected. I replied to Bady, one thing led to another, the slippery slope was slupped, and Maria Bustillos ended up refereeing the whole thing here on The Awl.

Bustillos sees institutions like San Jose State experimenting with credit for [...]


Glenn Beck as America's Professor

Recently I decided to check in with Glenn Beck. (I do this semi-regularly with all the various cable news talk shows out of a sense of responsibility, though I never last more than about 10 minutes at a stretch.) I was not optimistic. Based on the clips I'd been exposed to by people who don't like Glenn Beck, I expected a mix between a revival meeting, a Klan rally, and the McCarthy hearings. Instead, I got Glenn in front of a blackboard, lecturing about…Calvin Coolidge.

I found this hilarious. In terms of presidents, it's like giving a lecture about James Bond focused entirely on George Lazenby. Coolidge lucked [...]


An Academic Doubts The Academy

Michael Sayeau, now at University College London, returned from last week's conference entitled "On the Idea of Communism" in somewhat low spirits regarding the state of academic conferencing. Our papers, we tell ourselves, are incisive critiques of the status quo. But how intimidated is the status quo by a rigorous Marxist analysis of Philip Larkin's "Whitsun Weddings" anyway? It doesn't help that Power, despite our repeated invitations, rarely shows up at events like "Rethinking Modernities" to suffer our blistering remarks.