re: MOOC-utopia: Who Really Wins?
The upcoming devaluation of educational staff salaries for professors and teachers alike will occur because of labor arbitrage. As the need to physically attend a course decreases, both for professor and student, the access to and availability of offshore educational staff will become more important and relevant. The offshored staff benefit from much lower fixed and variable costs like cost of living, education debt, etc. So they will work for much less than locally grown talent and require fewer US based benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment. See where is this going? Anyone? Anyone?
We have seen this before with the IT profession having been massively offshored and outsourced over the last 10 years. It was driven by the ability to manage and troubleshoot IT from vast distances with little need for a physical presence. So now your potential labor pool opens up to countries where worker's wages, rights and benefits are considerably lower than in the U.S. Naturally, corporations drooled at this prospect and have since embraced it wholeheartedly. With the outflow of jobs came the destruction of local IT talent and their career prospects. Then came the current mantra and feigned surprise by corporations and government alike that we have an IT talent shortage!
Now we will be repeating the cycle with our education profession and MOOCs, where the US based highly qualified, PHd-only need apply, to justify their much higher wage and benefits demands. The lower, less qualified US based ranks will be supplanted by cheaper offshore "talent", which are "good enough". What is an aspiring student or career changer going to do, who wants to be an educator or professor, but can't get their foot in the door because most or all of the lower level educational opportunities have gone to the lowest bidder offshore?
If you don't nurture the US based career prospects of the lower rank and file in any industry, be it IT or education, how can you be surprised by a future talent shortage?