Quelle surprise: Dean blames proffie for wanting better standards in online teaching

One of my students sent me this story from the LA TImes about UCI Professor Emeritus Richard McKenzie’s refusal to continue working on a MOOC.  I think the reporter is unconsciously hilarious in making this a story about “uncertainties” when it seems pretty clearly to be a story about certainties. There is no uncertainty. Here’s what McKenszie expects:

In his statements posted to the class website over the weekend, McKenzie appeared to be frustrated over his attempts to get the students to obtain and read as much of the textbook as possible.

“I will not cave on my standards. If I did, any statement of accomplishment will not be worth the digits they are printed on,” he wrote.

READ THE BOOK?  Have standards? That doesn’t sound like uncertainty to me.  It sounds like a guy who isn’t comfortable just recording content and shoving it at people and then giving them a certificate.

The part I truly, truly love is this part:

Gary Matkin, UC Irvine’s dean of Continuing Education, Distance Learning and Summer Session, said in a statement that McKenzie is “not accustomed [as few are] in teaching university-level material to an open, large and quite diverse audience, including those who were not seriously committed to achieving the learning objectives of the course or who decided not to or could not gain access to supplemental learning materials.”

Yes, indeed.  You can see why this guy is a dean: it’s the individual faculty member’s fault. Not my office for not helping him understand what he’s getting into, not the corporate entity you are writing checks to for your “completion certificate.” Nope. Just that guy who is “not accustomed” to students who “are not seriously committed to achieving the learning objectives.”

Proffies are so unreasonable.

Look people, if proffies wanted to record YouTube lectures to shove out there for people to listen to, they could do that without Coursera.  Shouldn’t there be some commitment to engaging past just content delivery?