New Research on the Automation of Education and the MET Program

In memory of David F. Noble, I am revisiting the automation of education and trends in the MET program here at UBC.  My first report was published in 2005: “How (and why) Digital Diploma Mills (don’t) Work: Academic Freedom, Intellectual Property Rights, Automation and UBC’s Master of Educational Technology Program.” The MET program is now ten years old and on first glance, many of the problems documented in 2005 still exist with the most poignant being a continued exploitation of sessional or part-time faculty members.  At that time, I chronicled:

MET sessionals work without basic support and for a piecemeal wage of $220 (CD) per student. When necessities, such as office space, a monthly photocopy allocation, and a phone budget were requested, the MET Coordinator asserted that these niceties are unnecessary for S2S courses (Gaskell, 2005). Laptop and workstation requests were similarly denied. After calculating the time that MET sessionals spend in attending to the everyday demands of S2S courses, remuneration for teaching MET courses disintegrates into the average national minimum wage ($7.30 per hour) or worse. (p. 51)

After ten years, none of this has changed save for a minor increase in the piecemeal wage.  After ten years, the program has yet to be submitted to a review. Once again, time for an empirical analysis of the MET program.

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