Living, Breathing, Professors

In Defense of the Living, Breathing Professor

“Crowd-sourcing’ the grading of an essay online is no substitute for thoughtful evaluation by a trained educator.”

     This is an excellent commentary about mass classes published in the Wall Street Journal, of all places.  Have a look:it is all about why good teachers have little to fear form from the current fad in mass internet classes (MOOCS in the current parlance).  The article is written by Adam Falk who is the President of Williams College in Massachusetts, and a Professor of Physics there.  Williams College is of course the traditional high quality liberal arts college where rich folk send their kids.  Excellent quality means small classes, and much professor-student contact.

I’m always impressed that those with the big bucks are willing to invest in institutions like Williams for their own kids, presumably because there is a “pay off” in the type of adults and citizens Williams create with their small classes.  This is presumably because, as Falk writes that there are no substitutes online for that living breathing professor.  Certainly it is not replaced by a celebrity-professor on the internet web-casting to thousands (or hundreds of thousands) asynchronously.

Now, if we could only get the rich to acknowledge that the small classes, thoughtful evaluation, and so forth that is good for their kids, is also good for the other 98%, we might get somewhere~