"Capitalism, Coronavirus, and Crushing College as We Know It"
Massive changes are afoot in academia as a result of COVID-19. Fast Capitalism would like your critical thoughts on the way the quick move to online education will change higher education for everyone. The special section of Fast Capitalism will appear in issue 17.2 due out in September/October 2020.
We're witnessing how crisis capitalism has a way of massively shifting our day-to-day existence. The fact that so many are willing to create online course materials without compensation or course reductions speaks to hegemony. Antonio Gramsci argued hegemony is so powerful because we consent to the processes that oppress us and/or others. We're consenting to a change in the education system.
In the past, Many academics fret about the move to online teaching. However there are benefits. There is a huge benefit for single parents who work full-time but want to finish their education. Or people with crushing anxiety who feel uncomfortable in a traditional classroom setting. Or people who travel for their job, but want to receive a college degree. This move online to deal with coronavirus does not affect those students in any direct way.
What is happening is a massive amount of unpaid labor to convert our in-person classes online without any resources. There is no information about what happens to these materials you develop after you develop them. Developing novel course materials on your own and handing them over to the university has been a hard-fought issue over the past two decades. What happens when the crisis is over? Do we return to normal or will we have lost control of our intellectual labor? Will universities decide that if it worked during a crisis, it can work any time? Will we be shut down during other periods because our students succeeded through the coronavirus shut down? How will freebies given by education corporations adjust the new norms?
If you’re interested in submitting an essay feel free to submit one via FastCapitalism.com or email the editor, David Arditi (firstname.lastname@example.org). Submit full essays before May 1 or contact David Arditi.
Associate Professor of Sociology - UT-Arlington
Editor of Fast Capitalism