Prof. Pearson Goes To College


On Thursday, Gabriel Kahn at Slate reported news that is not actually news to anybody who pays attention to education these days, but it’s still worth noting.

Pearson has made it possible for colleges and universities to do away with those pesky professors entirely by providing a Course in a Box. Students who sign up for an Intro to Psychology course at Any University, USA, may very well find themselves taking exactly the same online course from Pearson PLC.

The online courses (the article also profiles one in math) provide an online textbook, and whenever you get stuck on a math problem, just click a link and up pops a video of somebody showing you how to do it.

The advantage to the university is obvious– they don’t have to fork over even the pennies involved in hiring a part-time adjunct.

The threats are also obvious. First, how do students decide between University A and University B if the course offerings are in so many cases absolutely identical? Anxious publishers are saying that the university has many ways to customize the experience so that it has something to offer beyond the identical course content.

Second, just how much longer will Pearson and the other whales in this business need the university at all. Read more>>