This April, during an ELI online conference on massive open online courses, I had an interesting exchange on Twitter with fellow educational technologist Edward O’Neill. (It was through my professional Twitter account rather than my philosophical one.) The exchange began when one of the conference presenters claimed that “the core purpose of the university, what it gets paid for,” is to provide certification for credit.
That equation – that “the core purpose” and “what it gets paid for” were assumed to be the same thing – raised my hackles. I responded in two tweets: “Since when is ‘the core purpose’ of something the same as ‘what it gets paid for’? Core mission of a university is to educate people. BUSINESS MODEL of a university is to certify for pay. Don’t confuse the two.”
The conversation that ensued was provocative and edifying, and probably best cited here in the form of the dialogue it was:
EO: Industries change.
AL: Often for the worse. Especially when something that was not previously regarded as an “industry” becomes so. Continue reading