Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Someone has to give in the great tuition fees battle. Who will it be?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This post takes about half its length to get to the point, but when it finally reaches it, it's a good one. "For absolute clarity," writes Jim Dickinson, "students aren't 'paying' for learning outcomes. After all, some of them might fail, and some might not learn anything." No, in fact, what they're paying for is everything else: "material matters are things like the main course content, components like placements or field trips, how and where the course will be delivered.... it also includes non-course-related information that students might consider important – the sort of stuff universities promote to students on open days." Now Dickinson's point is to note that it's all of this that has been dropped in online Covid education, and students quite rightly are demanding a refund. But my interest is in something more fundamental: colleges and universities have spent decades (centuries, even) convincing people they need all of these things to obtain learning outcomes. But what if people realize after Covid that they don't need them at all? I think that universities, like politicians, are going to depend on people having short memories.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024 10:54 a.m.

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