Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

So, the post is dated a few weeks ago, but I just got turned on to it today by a colleague.

Flava from the Crampicle:

At New Online University, Advertisers Will Underwrite Free Degrees

August 2, 2012, 7:57 pm
By Angela Chen

An online degree-granting institution called World Education University, set to open this fall, plans to try an advertiser-driven model to support its free content.

“Any Silicon Valley start-up will tell you that if you can drive enough eyeballs to your Web site, you can find ways to leverage that and monetize it,” said Scott Hines, the university’s chief executive. “We’re very transparent to students. They understand that their education is being underwritten generally through advertisers.”

Advertisers will pay for students to answer survey questions related to their products. For example, students may be asked a question like “Are you a runner?” when they log into the learning-management system. If a student checks “yes,” he or she will thereafter see ads for a certain brand of running shoes on the home page.

Full Post

Because I was bored and my prep for the first few weeks of the term is done, I decided to check out the WEU (pronounced We-You) website. In my perusal, one page stood out. Please, for the love of Perry the Platypus, click here and let fly in the comments.


  1. Well, at least their system is transparent: "Each student will grade you, the professor, and the course you create for our online community. The more students who rate your course highly, the more students will take your course and the more you will get paid."

    Other than that, I'm wondering exactly how some of the most popular and effective intro-level critical thinking/analysis exercises, which often involve dissecting ads and the assumptions they embody, appeals they employ, etc., etc. might work on an ad-supported platform ("look to your right, and analyze the first ad you see, using concepts from Joe Blow's essay 'How Ads Deceive Us'"). Then again, there are plenty of examples of less-overt corporate infiltration into the university already; maybe blatant would actually be better in some ways.

  2. Hopefully this "transparent" effort will suffer the standard fate as all of Dr. Doofenshmertz's lame schemes.

    1. Behooold! The "Could We Possibly Make Students Feel More Entitled?"-inator.

  3. Make sure you check out the "Course Design" link. Where they state "Course are not based solely on what a professor deems important, the chronology of a learning stream or by traditional instructional styles. Rather we allow our students to chart their own learning path based on their unique learning style, then chart their own educational journey..." LOL.

  4. I can teach Exquisite Corpse style!!!

    1. This has got to be the easy way to make money I've ever heard of!
      1. The more students like you, the more you get paid.
      2. Students are generally lazy and have short attention spans, so the less work you assign, the more they will like you!
      3. Assign almost no work, post links to funny youtube videos, tell them all they are brilliant, then watch the cash roll in!!!!!

  5. "What is the atomic weight of bolonium?"

    "Uh, delicious?"

    "Correct. I also would have accepted snacktacular."


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