A deeply cynical Forbes piece by Kaplan’s Brandon Busteed:
The current narrative about the edtech industry is that it’s driven by innovative disrupters from outside of education – the proverbial Silicon Valley story of tech entrepreneurs finding solutions to all our most vexing problems. This disrupter story gets even more pronounced in higher education by the contrasting view of colleges and universities as institutions beholden to tradition, held back by faculty who are reticent to change. But that narrative is going to shift.
Faculty, Busteed writes, are responsible for MOOCs and have founded a bevy of startups. So the campaign to remake higher ed in the image of venture capital is, his reasoning goes, organic after all.
This is hogwash, of course: The fact that a growing number of aca-entrepreneurs betray their own values to enrich themselves doesn’t mean that the decades-old commercialization trend is faculty-led. Busteed, anyway, doesn’t really believe his own thesis. The reason to prime this narrative pump, he admits, is widespread faculty opposition. If only those pesky academics could be convinced that their peers were leading the charge, perhaps they’d stand down:
Any time “disruption” or “reform” is brought up in education circles, it typically raises the hackles of teachers and faculty. But when a new initiative or disruption is led by a faculty member, it certainly changes the tone and considerably lessens potential negativity and resistance. This is not to say that all faculty innovations prove successful, nor that outsiders can’t build incredibly successful initiatives. But holding the idea constant, one initiated by faculty – by insiders – has an ‘acceptance’ advantage over something developed outside the academy. In short, there’s inherent credibility in faculty-generated innovations and we would all be wise to pay closer attention to faculty-driven innovation, to proactively seek it out and to embrace it when it happens.
Busteed wants to bring about the misleading narrative he purports, in the piece‘s headline and opening grafs, to merely describe. As pro-corporate propaganda.