Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MIT dean abducted, replaced with human-shaped pile of buzzwords.

Christine Ortiz is taking a leave from her prestigious post as a professor and dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to start a radical, new nonprofit university that she says will have no majors, no lectures, and no classrooms.
Many details about the new university are still undetermined, she says, but the basic idea is to answer the question, What if you could start a university from scratch for today's needs and with today's technology?

An interview follows, but the answers aren't that easy to parse; the entity inhabiting Ortiz's human form doesn't answer questions so much as spray out of great inky clouds of jargon like a cornered cuttlefish. 

"all of the knowledge acquisition would be moved virtually." Instead of in-person instruction, students will be invited to search online for relevant YouTube clips. 

"There are so many talented doctoral students and postdocs that are unable to secure jobs in academia...At this point, tenure seems like a great mismatch with the system that we're thinking about." Instead of being paid a living wage, faculty will be invited to...meh, who cares, not our problem.

Oh heck, just read the whole astonishing thing on CHE


18 comments:

  1. My first reaction to reading this is: Donald Trump is a pussy! This woman bloviates on a COSMIC scale. Cosmic!!!

    My personal favorite: "Can you give a specific example of a time...?" Literally one hundred words later we find out the answer to that question is "No."

    ReplyDelete
  2. It read like a collaboration between Sarah Palin and Jesse Stommel.
    Had it been anywhere close to April 1st, I would have just thought an intern had been lumbered with the obligatory parody piece, but this is - apparenltly - for real.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "My thinking at this point is very much moving away from tenure."

    ... yet she is going on leave from MIT, no doubt maintaining her tenured position, just in case the world isn't ready Fantasy U.

    ReplyDelete
  4. and I'm going to start a university with no students and no administrators and no grading! It will be magical!

    ReplyDelete
  5. no majors, no lectures, no regular classrooms? so, basically she's starting a kindergarten.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I thought it was an Onion article at first. Oh boy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The stupid burns. That problem based learning crap bubbled up through the toilets of my university a couple years ago, but then we flushed and it all went away.

    ReplyDelete
  8. M.I.T., huh? This sounds to me to be Marvin Minsky's last experiment with the Turing test, now having escaped in Marvin's absence. Clearly, this AI is still only mimicking the thought processes.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wicked Walter from WaxahachieFebruary 2, 2016 at 11:15 PM

    Most of my mentors have turned boots up or are near it, and I know everyone of them would bomb the shit out of the current campus of their choice. I nearly can't believe what has become of all of this. For all my bluster, I'm about as lucky as it gets because I get 80% of my funding from non-academic entities, which means if my goons and I in the lab can churn out whatever is needed, we can do what we want. I haven't seen undergads in years, but I see this trickle down and crap out effect in my newest and sweetest grad students.

    Imagine the "progress" we'll see by the time we shuffle out of here? Me? It's single digits, baby. Mrs. Walter is ready. The Trans Am might as well be gassed up. People my age like RVs, but I find you can't really get the windows shaking in those big things, at least not with a decent 8-track.

    Crazzy, my friends. The whole shooting match, and this Christine Ortiz especially, crazzy beyond all belief. In the manner, as they used to say around, in the goon old days.

    ReplyDelete
  10. GPS Forex Robot 3 Review

    Forex signals are the basic verbal codes in Forex Trading. They are used as indicators for good or bad trading times, and have been used for years as factors for Forex trading decisions. These Forex signals have been communicated from one Forex agent to another via telegraph and telegram in the early days of Forex Trading. Now, real time Forex developments could be viewed through the internet. Human Forex investors may create their own sets of Forex signals to complement their automated online Forex Trading tools.

    http://binarymetabot.com/gps-forex-robot-3-system-review/

    ReplyDelete
  11. The above buzzwordy comment (which may be deleted by the time you read this) by a SPAMBOT could not be more ironic in the present context.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed.

      I also second the nomination for one of the greatest CM subject lines ever.

      As for the idea itself, I think she should spend a year or two of her leave teaching whoever she envisions as the market for this enterprise (or, alternatively, just holding down an average undergraduate-teaching job in the U.S., which I'd guess is a 4/4 or 5/5 in a community college or similar open access institution). That will probably not leave her any more coherent, but the reasons for the incoherence will probably be somewhat different (exhaustion, disbelief, and a few other emotions familiar around these parts).

      Delete
  12. "The Chronicle talked with Ms. Ortiz about what the new university might look like. The following transcript of that conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity."

    Can you imagine what the unedited transcript must have looked like?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She wasn't any more lucid elsewhere. I had a look at a few articles (having wondered what went wrong with the linked one) and, um, yeah.

      Delete