I have not yet read Kevin Carey’s The End Of College (henceforth TEOC).
But I’ve read some of it, and an awful lot about it though, all in a short time. I’ve read a case study in the New York Times which is taken directly from the book, a profile of status-seeking George Washington University http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/education/edlife/how-to-raise-a-universitys-profile-pricing-and-packaging.html.
I’ve read a précis of sorts, laying out the book’s major themes, which is also found in the pages of the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/upshot/true-reform-in-higher-education-when-online-degrees-are-seen-as-official.html?abt=0002&abg=1.
Of all the great written work about the book so far, I encourage everyone to read chronologically;
1) John Warner’s review of the book’s take on economic inequality and how that may or may not be solved by TEOC is great and encapsulates my initial serious concerns far better than I could myself. Read it here: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/just-visiting/can-we-end-end-college-already
2) Then came a devastating critique by Watters and Goldric-Rab, called Techno Fantasies, which also touches on the false promise of TEOC solving the economic inequalities of college but which is mainly focused on the highly-(cor)related issues of race and privilege and which takes an evidence-focused look at the effectiveness of MOOCs. If one is in the trenches every day reading higher ed news and literature as many college instructors are, these social justice-oriented and pedagogical critiques are familiar and must be more widely known. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2015/03/26/essay-challenging-kevin-careys-new-book-higher-education
3) Joshua Kim’s review came out the same day as the above; it is here: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/dear-kevin-5-challenges-“-end-college”. I don’t like the salutation but otherwise find Kim’s review relatively balanced. Certainly not as breathless as Carey’s book appears to be.
4) The problem that’s burning up the internet right now is Kim’s choices in responding to the Watters and Goldric-Rab critique – which he titled Criticism vs. Attack, found https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/criticism-vs-attack. Most of this response is all about tone policing. I believe that Kim’s position comes from institutional sexism plain and simple. Two must-read pieces on this are by David Perry here: http://www.thismess.net/2015/03/open-letter-to-joshua-kim-own-up.html and here: http://www.thismess.net/2015/03/three-premises-language-and-power.html
In fact, from the title to the opening salvo paragraphs, Kim’s address to Watters and Goldrick-Rab is deeply tone policing. He makes serious misstep which others are not really addressing. He says that they don’t seriously engage with Carey’s concerns about the present state of “college.” Let me quote Kim here: