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I think, if we take a really hard, long look at our society right now, most of our systems are effectively "broken"...and those breaks are interrelated and tied to the fact that our narratives about what do do are no longer cohesive and often at odds with what we actually do in practice. There's a lot of cognitive dissonance around most of our inherited cultural systems. Looking at new narratives for education might be more productive than getting stuck on the merry-go-round of "broken," especially if we could look for narratives that go beyond binaries and straw men to make their point. There aren't a lot of these around MOOCs right now. Sure, there are calls coming from inside the building. And outside. We need to sit back and tease apart what these are, not construct simple narratives to reify them. I like your bullet points: in them, I see a nod to one of the big pieces Shirky ignores about the system as it is, which is its structural (if clunky and poorly-enacted) to the concept of public. Even as universities become increasingly corporate and neoliberal, the historical inheritance of academia as a public institution expected to support and enable access and equality is visible in the many services and structures in place that don't necessarily have to do with course delivery. When Shirky cites the Don't Go Back to School piece, he ignores the fact that the majority of people who can get away without some kind of credential are white middle or upper-class males...the rest may well benefit from cheap education but will need it to operate beyond purely market principles in order to even begin to compete.
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Feb 8, 2013