> Essentially, what this says is that doing more stuff online shouldn't be an excuse to fire teachers. That seems very sensible
No, it isn't sensible at all.
This is an attempt by an entrenched interest to stave off and destroy innovation for their own benefit. The more teachers that work, the more dues they collect. They couldn't care less about the quality of the education rendered.
Imagine a kid from a poor neighborhood sitting in on a lecture from a top tier university. That's what we're talking about. That kind of educational opportunity. And the unions are trying to destroy that.
No disagreement here in general, unions are what they are. I just don't think you can portray this specific deal as a kick in the nuts for democratizing top-notch education. I can just as easily imagine university admins trying to make a quick buck out of badly organized and recorded lectures as I can imagine reactionary professors trying to save their asses. Both are just as scary.
Why is that less good? Let the market decide whether it's an effective alternative or not. If somebody can learn just as well from that medium then let them. Eliminating an entire department isn't a bad thing -- education is about the students, not the teachers -- regardless of what the unions would have you believe.
>Let the market decide
That's the clever part of MIT/Stanford etc putting all their lectures online.
Whats the point of paying to go to UC when you can learn the same stuff at home? And then the UC diploma becomes worthless because everyone knows you just watched the same stuff as the guy at home.
The only diplomas worth having will be those that still have real lecturers - like MIT and Stanford!
A similar thing happened in the UK 10years ago. All the equivalents of community colleges were renamed universities.
This was supported by all the UK's IVY league schools!
The problem is that somebody going for a job with a degree from a mid-ranking uni is faced with an employer who isn't sure whether that is a 'real' university or a former college. So to 'play it safe' they only look for IVY league degrees.
By pretending to support wider access to education - the top 5 places destroyed neatly all the competition!