The Chronicle reports:
Michael Tricoli was a middle manager looking for a leg up in his career, so he got an online M.B.A. from Northeastern University.
Well, not only from Northeastern. Much of his college experience was outsourced to a private company.
The company, Embanet, put up millions to start the online business program. Its developers helped build the courses. Its staff talked Mr. Tricoli through the application. It even pays—and, in rare cases, refers for possible hiring—the assistants who help teach students.
In exchange, Embanet gets what Northeastern’s business dean calls “a sizable piece” of the tuition revenue. He won’t say how much. But Embanet’s chief executive says its share can swell to a whopping 85 percent.
Developing college courses, hiring college faculty, teaching college courses: aren’t these functions supposed to be performed by, you know, actual colleges? There’s a real danger here if colleges increasingly see their roles as more like accreditors who lend their stamp of approval to external organizations. The business of education is teaching, and it’s disconcerting to see institutions think their business is only in-person teaching.