I've been quite worried about the Edley presence on the instructional committee and I thought I'd report something I consider to be rather encouraging news on a couple of fronts. First, those on that committee have only in the last two weeks gotten any input from people who know anything about IT, which means that they're just spinning their wheels because nobody actually understands a thing about the system. Second, they are now learning that in order to implement these grand money-making schemes of on-line teaching and Edley's fantasy of on-line degrees, they will need to invest mega mega bucks into a system that is so disparate and dysfunctional that it will simply be impossible. Consider the fact that UCLA alone has over 16 instructional management systems in place right now; the ten campuses have absolutely no means of communicating with each other in those terms. There simply is no infrastructure or common system to support the kinds of technological fantasies that Edley is proposing. The cost in creating them is absolutely prohibitive. And their concept of on-line teaching is frankly laughable. They seem to think that you can record a prof lecturing on any given subject, package it up and rent it out for a price. This is such an impoverished notion of instructional management that they would be completely dated before the starting gates are opened.
I am glad to see that resolutions have been passed, and I don't mean to suggest that there are no worries. On the contrary! But the more discussions I've been party to about the Gould Commission and various members on it, the more I realize that we may finally have the UC bureaucracy to thank for its absolute inefficiency. There seems to be a consensus building among those who have been closer to the commission "planners:" the people doing this are so completely disorganized and uninformed that they will have a very tough time getting this stuff off the ground. Between that and what I hope is just raw fear, it seems that the Regents and their lackeys will be having a tough time pushing anything through the system in a timely fashion (because the system isn't designed that way and never has worked that way). The sooner they want to get this stuff done, the longer it will take them. Various indicators have signaled that they actually have no idea how the system works (one of the reasons they are so completely clueless). There's no revamping a system if you don't understand what point it's starting from.
As I said, I think we should all be on red alert, but for what it's worth, these more skeptical views of the efficacy of the commission's future on the future have been surfacing and resurfacing more and more frequently. I don't think these are smoke screens for more nefarious plots -- I think that the UCOP suits are so confident in their own power that they are sure they can wave the wand and be done with it. They're not in the AIG board room anymore -- and those students gathered outside the building aren't interested in making coffee.