AGREE TO DISAGREE
Two points of view, one question
-The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the business model for higher education.
-Ben Nelson argues that technology enhances education by offering effective, data-driven instruction at lower costs.
-David Deming says there aren’t scalable online substitutes for the most valuable and personal parts of teaching: tutoring, mentoring, and giving feedback.
“Technology is a tool. […] The idea is that if you actually can provide some additional ways of doing education using technology that you can’t do offline, then by definition, you should be able to do something better.”
Ben Nelson, CEO, The Minerva Project
“My big concern… is that online tools are used as a way to cut costs, rather than as a way to increase quality. And so my concern is that cash-strapped universities are going to be hit extremely hard… by declining state budgets in the wake of the recession.”
Ed-tech in America: Divided We Learn
-Some are optimistic that online education has the potential for personalized curriculum and engagement.
-Others are concerned that online education may widen the academic achievement gaps between poor, middle-class and wealthy students.
-According to a recent study, 4 In 10 teens in the U.S. are not attending online classes.
POINTS OF VIEW
Top insights and news from the intellectual leaders who have battled it out
on the Open to Debate stage.
- Matthew Yglesias raises concerns about the long-term consequences of school closures for children, especially young and low-income kids. (Vox, Matthew’s debate)
- On the other hand, Jeannie Suk Gersen explores the positive aspects of teaching online, writing, “there’s something strangely more intimate about online teaching, which makes the attention to each student feel more live and personalized, not less.” (The New Yorker, Jeannie’s debate)
- Billy Kimball and the Veep writers talk about how they’re keeping kids entertained at home. Fortnite is educational, right? (Vulture, Billy’s debate)
- Governors are starting to ease restrictions, but will consumers reemerge? Juliette Kayyem dives in. (The Atlantic, Juliette’s debate)
- Walter Olson weighs in on state power and the role of governors in combating coronavirus. (The Wall Street Journal, Walter’s debate)
When one number tells two stories.
The average debt of 2019 college graduates.
Students across the nation are filing lawsuits and organizing strikes to demand refunds for on-campus services. Does their case have any merit? And with average tuition costs of college at $21,950 for in-state, $26,820 for out-of-state, and $36,880 for private universities, will schools across the nation have to reduce their price to retain and attract students?
Yes to Reimbursement:
ABC: College students clamor for tuition refunds after coronavirus shutters campuses.
No to Reimbursement:
Marketwatch: Harvard and other major universities still charging full tuition as classes go online amid coronavirus outbreak.
Two perspectives on one of the nation’s biggest debates this week.
Should campuses open in Fall 2020?
In Favor of Opening Campuses in Fall
The New York Times: College Campuses Must Reopen in the Fall. Here’s How We Do It.
“The reopening of college and university campuses in the fall should be a national priority. Institutions should develop public health plans now that build on three basic elements of controlling the spread of infection: test, trace and separate.”
Opposed to Opening Campuses in Fall.
The Atlantic: There’s No Simple Way to Reopen Universities.
“[T]he desire of the virus to propagate and the desire of the university to educate are in dangerous harmony. A properly functioning university is a never-ending festival of superspreader events, and to open campuses in the fall will be a challenge.