USV’s “Research” on Online Education: Well, That’s Depressing
Union Square Ventures (a venture capital outfit) posted their “research” into online education yesterday (blog post , links page). I put quotes around the word “research” because as far as I can see, only one item (a report from Stanford’s Ed School) is actually research: the rest is articles from the popular press, opinion pieces from various bloggers, and a handful of TED talks. It appears USV doesn’t know there are people who actually study this stuff carefully, rather than just have opinions about it. *sigh*
(Of course, it doesn’t help that a lot of the real research is hidden behind paywalls, and only available in practice to academics who are then, funnily enough, invisible to the people who make policy and fund new ventures. Double *sigh*)
Later: I spoke with Christina Cacioppa by phone yesterday after she commented on this post. She talked a bit about the constraints they work under: busy people won’t read narrowly-focused papers reporting micro-progress on nano-topics — they need overviews they can absorb in a hurry, because they have nine other meetings this week to prepare for. One of her questions was, “What do you think we should have included?” I think it’s a fair question, so my offering is Fagen, Crouch, and Mazur (2002): “Peer Instruction: Results from a Range of Classrooms” (warning: as of this writing, Harvard’s preprint server hangs midway through the download, which is a perfect example of why non-academics don’t read this stuff). What are yours?