How Are the MOOCs Doing?

The researchers note that this doesn't mean that online courses aren't working—just that there were a lot of curious people who were simply browsing and dropping as the courses became available.

The Briny Business of Academia

Thomas Frank’s essay on the downfall of the university system is a fun (“fun”) read and ties together a lot of the changes happening at universities in a fun (“fun”) way: “Just about everyone in academia believes that they were the smartest kid in their class, the one with the good grades and the awesome test scores. They believe, by definition, that they are where they are because they deserve it. They’re the best. So tenured faculty find it easy to dismiss the de-professionalization of their field as the whining of second-raters who can’t make the grade. Too many of the adjuncts themselves, meanwhile, find it difficult to blame the system as they apply fruitlessly for another tenure-track position or race across town to their second or third teaching job—maybe they just don’t have what it takes after all. Then again, they will all be together, assuredly, as they sink finally into the briny deep.”

The Three Ways I Got Schooled: As a Student, a Teacher, and a Person Trying to Pay Rent

A solid command of English and better-than-average rhetorical fluency has to count for something, right? Maybe it does, but certainly not as much as you’re taught in school—and certainly not in a down economy.

How We Should Think About MFA Programs

We are made to believe that MFA programs can’t teach writing, only life can teach writing. But that is not the case.

Hang in There, Humanities Majors

Inside Higher Ed breaks down a new report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities that comes bearing good news: liberal arts majors may take a bit longer to find well-paid jobs, by the time they're (we're!) in our 50's we make on average more money than people who studied in professional or pre-professional fields.

Also No Need to Fill Out a FAFSA to Read Some Books

UVA English professor Mark Edmundson’s argues that, despite employability concerns, all college students should consider the English major, as it “means pursuing the most important subject of all—being a human being.” Reading books is a pretty fun way to learn! But also: It sure would be nice to have a marketable skill after you rack up a billion dollars in debt. If I could go back, I’d have chosen either Spanish (don’t speak a word!) or nursing. Skills.

A Call for Higher Wages for Adjuncts

A minimum of $5,000 per course—that's what adjuncts and their supporters are asking for in their Mayday Manifesto that went live yesterday, according to Inside Higher Ed.

I Got an M.F.A And Now I Teach English in the Middle East

My MFA in the Middle East.

The Difference Between Good and Great, at Harvard and in Life

“When Christina Wallace, now the director of the Startup Institute, attended Harvard Business School on a scholarship, she was told by her classmates that she needed to spend more money to fully participate, and that ‘the difference between a good experience and a great experience is only $20,000.‘”

Hahhhahahhha..hahhaa….ha……..ha………(thinks about it for a second). By George, they’re right.

N.Y.U.’s Vacation Home Loans

Trachtenberg is commenting in the Times about N.Y.U. loaning out money to some faculty members and administrators to buy vacation homes.

We Were Poor, And College Was The Answer to All My Problems (Right?)

College was positioned as The Answer To All My Problems from a very young age.

Don’t Get a PhD, Says Person With PhD

My brother sounds like a professor sometimes and looks like a professor sometimes but is not a professor because he got his master’s and said: “I’m done, academia. Farewell.” He gives a trifecta of good reasons: No money in academia, no actual change is spurred by academia, your work is for other academics, not the world at large.

A fourth reason, that getting a PhD is a terrible and awful process, is outlined in this harrowing post by a woman named Liv who has a PhD and a job in academia in the U.K. She urges people to take another other route, as this one is long and hard and stressful and expensive. She writes: “I’ve just come back from a conference that was supposed to be about networking for early career researchers and basically turned into a group therapy session for trauma survivors. And this is the winners of the system, those of us who actually graduated from our PhDs and found jobs in academia.” Sounds super fun. Great fun. Most fun. Read the whole thing. Other money quote: “The whole system of academia is set up based on extremely able people looking for every possible flaw in the work of other extremely able people.”