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Weekend Ponderance

I understand why folks, at least within my profession, are worried about online education displacing or devaluing classroom teachers. But let me ask, what has happened to direct musical instruction over the past thirty years? Are there not myriad videos, DVDs, books, and other ways to learn instruments at almost no cost? Has this destroyed the teaching market for instrument learning? I am not so sure that it has. Data on this would be much appreciated.

3 Responses to “Weekend Ponderance”

  1. Tim says:

    I, too, would not be concerned with MOOC’s replacing higher education wholesale. I have signed up for a couple, but then didn’t do much with either course. Neither was required knowledge for my work/career, just stuff I’m interested in. Here’s a good overview of the current status – http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303759604579093400834738972

    They may prove helpful in containing costs for a university. Perhaps the large, standard courses (ie: CALC 101), or prep courses could be replaced for a reduced cost to the student and university.

    At the same time, my kids and I have found Kahn academy quite useful. And I have restarted my technical career (moving from networking/IT to software development) primarily through the use of sites like codeacademy and codeschool.

  2. Scott says:

    WC, I will offer that there will always be a premium for live instruction, because the lessons can be customized to the student, and a live teaching experience may be a better facilitator for communicating expertise that has takes years to develop than a larger classroom setting – a recommend a book called ‘The Craftsman,’ which discusses the way that instruction had changed over the long-term from guilds to more of a classroom setting, and the implication this has had on craftsmanship. I believe there will always be a market for live instruction – for the right students.

    Tim, I also recently began using code academy and I find it to be an amazing tool. Although I’m not sure it will boost my credibility with employers, it has been an excellent tool for introduction into computer languages.

  3. RIT_Rich says:

    There were always books to teach musical instruments, yet there were always also instructors to do it. Typically, the instructors also wrote the books.

    I too agree that there is too much “hype” going on. Online “education” has been around now for about 20 years. It’s not particularly new. How many “conventional” universities has the University of Phoenix replaced? I think some people might be missing a few points:
    1) Online courses typically target a different kind of consumer than the one for conventional higher ed.
    2) They typically deliver a different type of information or knowledge than conventional higher ed.
    3) Within higher ed, there are many different types of institutions: teaching institutions, research institutions, different levels of each etc. Online might be a substitute only for some of these, and clearly not for others.
    4) Even if we assume that there is/will be some disruption to conventional models, I think this will serve more or less as complementary in many situations. For example, it will allow for more resources within certain types of institutions to be places towards more research or more value-added activity than the simple transmission of information (assuming that online can do the same job, which I am not convinced it can).
    5) And finally, most of the “disruption” is coming from the current traditional universities, not from outsiders. They are the ones running the most successful online programs to…complement…their existing model.

    And ultimately, the labor market does not think that online forms of education are as valuable as most traditional forms, and does not reward them as much. That says quite a lot.

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