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Author Topic: Professors Open Pirate Universities "on the Side"  (Read 4928 times)
busyslinky
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2012, 11:28:56 AM »

Historically, in the early years of Universities, didn't students pay the Professor directly?  Could this be the situation in the future?
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lotsoquestions
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2012, 11:44:29 AM »

How is this any different than the fact that several of the teachers at my kids' middle schools and high schools sell their tutoring services outside of school -- often to the same kids that they teach?  I'm not saying that it's right but traditionally this has been condoned, at least where I live, largely because people are aware that teacher's salaries are low relative to other professions. 
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theblondeassassin
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2012, 11:55:49 AM »

Historically, in the early years of Universities, didn't students pay the Professor directly?  Could this be the situation in the future?

I didn't realise the medieval model of direct payment had ever gone away.

(Hides collection plate from this morning's teaching.)
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hegemony
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2012, 3:18:52 PM »

I don't understand why this seems so threatening.  The online courses do not provide university credit, and a quick reading of the article seems to suggest that the profs aren't even charging for them.  But what if they did?  They're not in competition with the university.  They just offer another way to get certain kinds of knowledge -- just as books do.  What a university offers is a credential that says you've been through a certain process; these courses offer no such credential.  So I don't see that they qualify as "pirate universities" at all.

And whatever the content of these courses, I dispute the idea that my employer owns all of my time and everything I create.  If I create something in their lab with their resources, then they have an interest in it which is no doubt spelled out in a contract somewhere.  But if I write a freelance book or make videos, it's none of my university's business.  If I'm fulfilling my job duties, what I do in my spare time is nothing to do with them.  Now it could be argued that universities, like some businesses, have an implied "non-compete" clause.  But as I understand these courses, they're not even competing with what a university offers.  They're just another way of delivering an explanation of pretty common knowledge.  I'm surprised and dismayed that people think the university owns everything I might do with my knowledge of my subject. 
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 3:31:21 PM »

I just watched some of the content for MRU's first course, a subject that I teach. It's good. I have no need to lecture in the classroom anymore; next time I teach the course I'll refer students to the website and we can problem-solve in class.

For those of you who still don't get it, watch this optional lecture on watermelons. Then replace "watermelon" with "college education":

http://mruniversity.com/watermelon-scale-economies-optional

I was too distracted by the fact that tourists are being ripped off. I am certain the locals are not charging one another $7 for a watermelon. Plus how can you compare the watermelons as comparable products? Watermelons hand-grown in a small garden, ripened on the vine, still fresh when you buy it =/= mass produced trucked-in, durable-rather-than-flavorful watermelons.

He needs a better example with less baggage.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 3:32:00 PM by melba_frilkins » Logged

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busyslinky
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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2012, 3:54:09 PM »

I don't understand why this seems so threatening.  The online courses do not provide university credit, and a quick reading of the article seems to suggest that the profs aren't even charging for them.  But what if they did?  They're not in competition with the university.  They just offer another way to get certain kinds of knowledge -- just as books do.  What a university offers is a credential that says you've been through a certain process; these courses offer no such credential.  So I don't see that they qualify as "pirate universities" at all.

And whatever the content of these courses, I dispute the idea that my employer owns all of my time and everything I create.  If I create something in their lab with their resources, then they have an interest in it which is no doubt spelled out in a contract somewhere.  But if I write a freelance book or make videos, it's none of my university's business.  If I'm fulfilling my job duties, what I do in my spare time is nothing to do with them.  Now it could be argued that universities, like some businesses, have an implied "non-compete" clause.  But as I understand these courses, they're not even competing with what a university offers.  They're just another way of delivering an explanation of pretty common knowledge.  I'm surprised and dismayed that people think the university owns everything I might do with my knowledge of my subject. 

Following up... Instructors have been teaching (moonlighting) at other universities and on-line education for...ever.   Also, visiting scholars on sabbatical, giving talks for honoria at other schools, consulting, etc., are all ways of 'competing' against  your own institution.

Not much wrong in this, in my viewpoint.
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pdog128
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2012, 5:30:42 PM »

I would LOVE to open a Pirate University on the side!

"Ahoy ye mateys, here lies knowledge! Only a few doubloons required!"

. . .

Sorry, I've been watching this thread and I couldn't resist anymore.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2012, 6:20:07 PM »

If The Depp and his pirate eyeliner got into teaching, I would be at his office hours All. The. Time.
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helpful
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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2012, 6:54:53 PM »

Years ago, a high administrator of a Canadian university was on leave and started a private university that now competes with the university he used to work for.  After his leave, he returned to his university for a year, then left to work for the university he founded.  At the time of his leave, there was lots of controversy about him using his leave to create a competitor.  (His university, Quest, is, I believe, the only secular private university in Canada).
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 7:11:40 PM »

I think that the terms "star scholar" and "university" were provocative here.  If someone is teaching an Excel course, they're not a star scholar.  If I were Stanford, I be sooo firing Ng (of Coursera-- he's "on leave" from Stanford,) except that Stanford expects to benefit somehow.  Maybe the MOOC stuff is the big places trying to create an oligopoly around motherships with a few of the ex-state colleges as satellites. 
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pigou
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« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2012, 8:33:27 PM »

I don't see how this is any different from an academic writing a book. That also takes place during "work" hours, and brings in some extra income for the author. That income is, in some rare cases, very substantial - think of Stewart and his calculus textbooks, for example. If you can come up with a way to reach tens of thousands of people and make them better understand something, more power to you.

For most faculty, I'm sure, these online courses will not ever amount to any substantial income.

If The Depp and his pirate eyeliner got into teaching, I would be at his office hours All. The. Time.
There's a famous economist who is very creative when it comes to finding ways to include Johnny Depp in his papers... If the two of them co-taught a class, I'd tune in. "Hey Johnny... what's the problem with hyperbolic time discounting? People won't get to see your latest movie!"
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spork
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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2012, 11:14:12 PM »

GMU has affiliations with Saylor, StraighterLine, and NOVACC. I would not be surprised if this course ends up on Saylor's website and results in transfer credit at NOVACC and GMU after students pass the StraighterLine exam.
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janewales
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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2012, 11:29:35 PM »

Years ago, a high administrator of a Canadian university was on leave and started a private university that now competes with the university he used to work for.  After his leave, he returned to his university for a year, then left to work for the university he founded.  At the time of his leave, there was lots of controversy about him using his leave to create a competitor.  (His university, Quest, is, I believe, the only secular private university in Canada).

He had been the president of UBC. Quest was, mostly, his post-presidential project (it took some years to come together). Quest has fewer than 500 students right now; the Canadian university landscape remains, for the moment at least, almost entirely public.
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