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Do MOOCs Spell Disaster For Adjunct Faculty?

by David S. D’Angelo

Within higher education, non-tenured faculty are not only on the front lines of higher education, their jobs are most often impacted tremendously by technological and political changes that impact higher education. Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act) has had a devastating impact on part-time faculty from Florida to Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where colleges have cut adjunct teaching loads in order to skirt the federal health care reform law.

Now we have the Great MOOC debate.

The Economist is upbeat:

Now, MOOCs have burst on to the scene. MOOCs – massive open online courses – have been heralded as inaugurating an inevitable transformation in higher education. In the favoured jargon of techspeak MOOCs have been called a “disruption” – a term that at first invokes a welcome alternative to the stagnation and elitism of the American university.

DOTCOM mania was slow in coming to higher education, but now it has the venerable industry firmly in its grip. Since the launch early last year of Udacity and Coursera, two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations.

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Recently Commented

  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...
  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.