May 13, 2014

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CFHE takes on online education industry in new video

A new video by The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) questions the cost of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other claims made by online education industry profiteers.

The animated video, “Online Education: Teaching Millions or Making Millions?” is part of a national grassroots campaign to inform families, educators, higher education leaders, and policymakers about the serious concerns faculty members and educational staff have about MOOCs and online education.

The video will get its official premiere at the CFHE’s Seventh National Gathering, set for May 16-18 in Albany. UUP is hosting the event.

The “Millions” video argues that promises by online education companies to dramatically expand higher education access through the use of online learning are neither new nor true. It’s a promise similar to the one made to low-income American home buyers prior to the housing crisis that triggered the 2008 recession.

Home buyers were told they could buy houses they couldn’t afford through the use of subprime mortgages and other lending mechanisms—which were ultimately catastrophic for the buyers but profitable for certain sellers.

The video is based on three telling CFHE reports—"The ‘Promises’ of Online Higher Education: Access, Costs and Profits"—released last year. The papers expose how these products affect students’ access to getting a higher education; the actual costs to students as well as to a university or college to use these tools; and the profits involved that appear to affect how the tools are used and evaluated.

The CFHE is composed of dozens of higher education faculty and staff organizations across the nation. It was launched in 2011 to guarantee that affordable, quality higher education is accessible to all sectors of society and that the voices of the faculty, staff, students and communities—not just the voices of administrators, politicians, foundations and think tanks—are included in the process of making change. The campaign seeks to ensure that the emphasis, curriculum, pricing, and structure of our nation’s higher education systems are good for our students and the quality of education they receive.

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