Article: Desire2Learn Acquires Course-Suggestion Software Inspired by Netflix and Amazon – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education
This is interesting. I'm not sure how well it would work at my university, but I can see where a university with a plethora of options could use this as a recruiting tool – having a tool that makes course selection, perhaps even major selection, more like a shopping experience, well I can see how that might be attractive the undergrads and perhaps even their parents.
But – and I think this is a big but – what about that responsibility-for-our-own-choices understanding that we are supposed to realize as we become adults? Would this helpful system be encouraging more adolescence, or a longer adolescence, when it comes to learning what responsibility is? Or am I overreacting with a snarky "I did it myself, so you should have to do it yourself too" mindset?
In any case, I think it's another step down the commercialization of education. Students already seem to think they are "buying" their education which makes them think they have more influence over their instructors than they do (or should) have. Educators and institutions have to demonstrate a clear "value" for their courses and programs, when the reality is that the individual student's efforts (again, responsibility, responsibility, responsibility) seems to me to be most direct influence on their success.
Yes, there are boring, under-informed (or ill-informed), lazy instructors. But for the most part I've found that they are a minority. Most of the instructors I had were desperate for students that cared enough to do the readings, to attempt the homework and to participate in class in a meaningful manner without excessive prodding and cajoling... and if you were that student, well, you often made that instructor's day – maybe even their semester – a joy.
I believe that student success has more to do with the student than the critics of higher education want to admit.