"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, November 04, 2012

MOOC-ing Toward Epistemological Imperialism

The newest fad in digitized thought delivery is the MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses), and as soon as the politically-disinterested MIT engineers can hook up with the economically-rapacious profiteers of UofPhoenix, we are likely to see the "global economy" become underpinned by the new "global college."  And just as the the global economy is about ferreting out the most vulnerable societies on Earth for exploitation, from production to consumption, the global college will be about stocking the cognitive shelves of tribesmen everywhere with the exceptionalist epistemologies that put ancient Greece at the Cognitive Creation and John Locke at the Modern Political Beginning, and Washington, DC as the site of the Second Coming of Adam Smith.

Think of it--Harvard in the African bush on hand cranked computers connected to satellites 20,000 miles up.  Or at least Harvard Extension Online Not For Credit Evening School.  But it will say, Harvard, and everyone will want that.  Just like Nike.

More importantly, think of the possibilities of bringing the world together politically and culturally without all that inefficient diversity.. . None of that partisan in-fighting and those rancorous political disagreements that use up so much of our energy that could be better directed toward getting Comcast into Namibia, Paula Dean into Nepal, KIPP into the slums of Sao Paulo.

1 comment:

  1. You have hit upon the "cosmopolitan dream" that invigorates Steven Pinker and Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum...

    Redemption needs its heaven.

    The electronic Edenic elides the irrelevancies of "difference."