At Harvard, Apparently, Many Faculty Feel that the Oversight of Online Courses Was Overlooked

From the Harvard Crimson:

Fifty-eight professors from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences requested in a letter Thursday to FAS Dean Michael D. Smith that he appoint a faculty committee to draft “ethical and educational principles” that would provide a framework for FAS engagement with HarvardX, the University’s curricular contributions to edX. The letter, shared with The Crimson by one of its signatories, asks that those principles be brought to a faculty vote in the 2013-2014 academic year. “It is our responsibility to ensure that HarvardX is consistent with our commitment to our students on campus, and with our academic mission,” the letter reads. “Given the rapid pace of development of HarvardX, we believe it is essential to have a formal, sustained, and structured faculty discussion on these issues as soon as possible.”…

The faculty first extensively discussed HarvardX as a body at its monthly meeting last December, and a number of professors have voiced concern about the project in recent months. Most recently, at the May faculty meeting, a number of professors have questioned what they described as Harvard’s rapid advance into online education. That debate, which was part of a larger conversation about the faculty’s relationship with administrators, centered around what several professors called a lack of meaningful consultation on the development of HarvardX…

Full story at

The letter from the 58 faculty members (with a listing of their names) is at:

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story about the letter which includes this information:

…(T)he 58 signatories of the letter, out of the hundreds of professors in the FAS, might not get their way. In a written statement to The Chronicle, a spokesman for the dean suggested that a new committee, consisting solely of FAS professors, was not in the cards…

Full story at