Should Teaching be outsourced?
Have a read of this article, it’s like someone watched an end of year hypothetical debate and thought, ‘yeah, let’s do that”.
My first thought is heaven help us if our teaching gets bad enough for this to be an option.
My second thought is, are we already on this slippery slope?
For many subjects publishers provide the text, the tutorial questions and answers, a bank of quiz questions, the online site with addtional tutorial material, and even provide the lecture slides/notes (expect to see more of this as publishers try to adapt their business model to the new ePub world). Obviously, it is up to the individual academic to decide how much of this material is used and how it is used. But let’s say for the sake of argument an academic manages to fly (way) under the radar and goes the whole hog.
What would be left for this ‘hands off’ academic to do?
- Mouthing the publishers notes (could this be given to a tutor?)
- Setting the exam (adapting the publishers questions?)
- Marking the exam (handed off to tutors?)
- Supervising tutors
- Unit admin
The only actual teaching related activity would be the consults and mentoring tutors. In the hands of a conscientious person this could be enough. It would certainly be more important to recruit tutors with actual teaching experience as well as (or in in preference to?) research experience.
Is it a big jump from this scenario to a fully outsourced unit? There are external groups who will mark your exams and most modern online courses provide tutors and offer consultations.
In the future could the total teaching responsibility of some academics be consultation with 3rd party providers?
Would having that option be a good thing, or bad thing?
I think as publishers look for new ways to protect their business there will be more options offered up to universities. I think this is a discussion that many faculties and departmental will have to have in the not so distant future.