I keep thinking about the Garrison article and the idea of "teacher presence." I very much believe that can make the difference between a student just getting information and a student LEARNING. However, I'm wondering if I'm being self-serving as I'm a teacher and want to think I'm invaluable. And I'm seeing certain instructional (DE) models that rather proudly do away with the teacher (I'm think of the "Western Governor University" model) and just use "canned" pods for the information and "mentors" for the student (not the courses). But maybe I'm just being defensive. I don't want my job to disappear! But also, I think that in the urge of universities to "institutionalize" courses and save money, they might think that DE courses can be mostly "self-taught."
I just don't think students pay tuition at the level they do to "self-teach." It's almost as if they're paying primarily for credit. If they pass this set of tests, they get their 3 hours of credit. But that's not really taking a class, is it? If the interaction is so minimal?
(BTW, I was told that the "pods" at that Western Governors were written, wait for it, by Pearson Ed. AKA the octopusBorg.)