Tag Archives: best professors

Donald Trump, Authorized Educator

The New York Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Trump Entrepreneur Institute (formerly Trump University) for what it calls blatant lies and misleading information on the value of services it provides.  The lawsuit, which calls the initiative a sham (including calling themselves Trump University, showing pictures of certificates, exploring the connections a student can gain through association with the group), seeks $40,000,000 in restitution for individuals who have paid upwards of $35,000 for the opportunity to learn from Mr. Trump in fields such as Real Estate and Business Administration.  According to the lawsuit, the workshops, lectures and mentorships through Trump University do not include Mr. Trump, but the one-on-one mentorship programs and support structures, encouraged as an up-sell during the initial three-day seminars, were largely ignored by Trump Entrepreneur Institute’s team of experts, a team which the deposition says was in no way influenced by Mr. Trump.  This leaves the situation as a blame game, with customers upset about broken promises and photo ops with a Trump cutout, and Trump alluding to the whole thing as a witch hunt propelled by the Obama administration.

While the allegations against Trump cast him in a felonious light and paint him as a charlatan, I am fixated on a foundational aspect of the story – why would anyone think Donald Trump could teach?

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Defining Edu Terms & MOOC Simulacra

At the heart of the Open Education Resources movement (and the Open movement in general) is the notion that education is a public good.  The progression to such sentiment may be based in a notion that an educated citizenry betters democracy and civic life (folks like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson), or that knowledge and wisdom are non-rivalrous and non-excludable (Econ 101), or that the increase and diffusion of knowledge stimulates societal and cultural growth (James Smithson, John Quincy Adams).  Regardless of its germination, the crux of such thought is that the provision of education from an egalitarian lens results in benefit across the population.

At face value the Massive Open Online Course fits this vision:  courses are free, prerequisites are encouraged but not enforced, and access to the best professors at the best universities is not bound to geography or economics.  And research into the framework of the MOOC points to the opening of university walls, the building of intra- and internet communications and an attempt to promote the increase and diffusion of knowledge for society, whether communal or global.  That’s why it’s worth noting that one of the primary voices in OER, David Wiley, sees the 2013 incarnation of MOOCs as a money grab:

I propose that, whenever you hear the acronym MOOC, you think: “Massively Obfuscated Opportunities for Cash”

How can a MOOC be both a bastion for openness and the epitome of closed content? Continue reading