Director Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel "The Great Gatsby" is set to be released May 7.
The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, reportedly has a budget of $104.5 million and is scheduled to open the 66th Cannes Film Festival, before receiving a wide release in 3-D and 2-D formats.
Whether the film's producers will get a good return on their investment remains to be seen, but the money behind the movie got us wondering about the finances behind Fitzgerald, his famous novel, and its film adaptations.
Fitzgerald's profits: $219,529.02 today
Notes in a ledger from Fitzgerald show that when the first edition of Gatsby was published, he received only $1,981.85 for the novel. Fitzgerald sold the "moving picture" rights to his novel for $16,666.
He notes there was "com 10% (twice)" (two 10 percent commissions) in his ledger, which brings his total amount down to $13,500. In 1927 he writes about additional payments of $2,910.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, that makes his movie proceeds about $219,529.02 today.
What about the films?
1926 film: Unknown
The only film that opened during Fitzgerald's lifetime, this iteration of "The Great Gatsby" was a silent film starring Warner Baxter and Lois Wilson. Unfortunately, the film is lost and so is data on its budget. But this trailer still survives:
1949 film: Unknown
Released by Paramount Pictures, this adaptation stars Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby. We couldn't find data on costs, but we do know that in 1949 movie tickets cost just $0.46.
1974 film: $26 million earned
Starring Robert Redford, this film adaptation had a budget of around $7 million, earning $26,533,200 domestically.
(An opera composed by John Harbison and a TV film starring Toby Stephens and Mira Sorvino were released in 1999 and 2000)
2013 film: $104.5 million budget
A budget of $104.5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Location subsidies in Australia brought the film's costs down from $190 million. You can watch a trailer for the film below.
A new report estimates that 260,000 Somalis died in the 2011 famine. Half of the victims were five years old or younger. The Associated Press has jumped the gun and revealed details of the report before it’s officially released Thursday by FEWSNET, a famine early warning system funded by the U.S., and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit - Somalia.
The death toll of 260,000 is higher than that of the Asian tsunami. But, back in 2011, the U.N. warned that three times that many people could die from the famine in Somalia.
Jeremy Konyndyck is director of policy for the global relief organization, Mercy Corps. “260,000 is a shocking number. At the same time, once that response did kick in, albeit late, I think it had a real impact. And you can see that in the fact that that worst-case scenario was averted,” says Konyndyck.
Tony Burns is director of operations for SAACID, the oldest and largest NGO in Somalia. He says the U.N. dragged its feet in declaring a famine in Somalia because it didn’t want Islamic extremists, called al-Shabab, to confiscate the relief supplies.
“It was a political decision and it did cost lives,” says Burns.
Burns says victims of the famine in areas controlled by al-Shabab were cut off from aid. “Throughout the famine, they never received a dollar in cash or in kind in terms of famine relief,” says Burns.
A spokesperson from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs declined to comment for this story.
But the failures of the past have helped change policies going forward.
“One of the big lessons of this famine is humanitarian systems should not be waiting for a declaration of famine. Or, you know, an imminent declaration of famine, before it scales up,” says Konyndyck.
The next disaster may not be so far away. Konyndyck expects another major draught in the Horn of Africa within the next three to five years.
Back in 2008, Oregon did what the rest of the country is about to do in 2014 when the Affordable Care Act kicks in: It expanded its Medicaid program. Only Oregon did it through a lottery. Meanwhile, researchers did a little study to gauge the impact of that expansion, and the results appear tomorrow in the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the study, here's what happens when people get access to Medicaid: they go to the doctor more, they're less financially strained, and not surprisingly, they're less depressed.
Katherine Baicker, a health economist at Harvard, authored the study in the New England Journal. She says those are just a few of the benefits they found to expanding Medicaid. "Part of the purpose of Medicaid is not just to gain you access to health care, but to ensure that you're not evicted from your apartment when you pay your medical bills instead of your rent," she says.
Baicker says expanding Medicaid also was good news for doctors and hospitals, who get paid rather than have bills go to collection. And the study found that patients don't have as many credit problems. "So those financial protections are really important to people," Baicker says.
But there's also a cost. People on Medicaid used about $1,200 more a year in medical care than those who were uninsured, according to the study. And that's just with Oregon's limited sample of 10,000. Baicker says it's unclear what those costs would be if millions more are added to the Medicaid rolls.
Andrew Barnes, who teaches health care policy at Virginia Commonwealth University, agrees Medicaid comes with a big price tag. But he says it's tougher to gauge the benefits. "Are people living longer? Are people living happier and healthier? Do people have less medical debt?" he says.
These are all factors, Barnes says, policy makers ought to consider in talks about Medicaid expansion.
In the version of "Iron Man 3" that’ll appear in the U.S., there’s a Chinese character named Dr. Wu.
LEK Consulting’s Ken Chen says Dr. Wu makes it onscreen for a total of five seconds.
“He says something like ‘hmm.’ And rolls his eyes. That was it," recalls Chen, who just saw the film in Taiwan.
Chen helps consult film studios in China. He says the Dr. Wu character is more central to the plot of the Chinese version of "Iron Man 3." He’s so central that, according to the Chinese actor who plays Dr. Wu, his role goes from a five second cut-away in the American version to saving Iron Man’s life in the Chinese version.
Chinese version of "Iron Man 3" trailer
This got Chen thinking about the future for other Hollywood blockbusters in China.
"I wonder if it’s going to be a bifurcated market in the world where you have the China version and the rest of the world version?" Chen asks.
USC’s East Asian Studies Center director Stanley Rosen says it’s already going beyond that. Village Roadshow, a co-production partner of Warner Brothers, has produced two box office hits in China by capitalizing on Chinese talent and ignoring the U.S. audience altogether.
"Now we’re seeing a situation where you can just do well with a Chinese film for the Chinese market and you can forget about the overseas market," says Rosen.
Last year, the Chinese spent nearly $35 billion on the movies, second only to the U.S. In the meantime, the U.S. has 120 screens per million people.
China? Only five. It's a sign that China may not have even entered its own golden age of the silver screen.
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is announcing a partnership with ESPN today to create a new network focused exclusively on SEC sports. It will likely be one the most lucrative TV deals in college athletics.
In the eyes of many, the SEC is the most powerful and traditional conference in college sports.
"Especially when you think about football, where you have schools like Alabama and Auburn and LSU. Schools that have been national champions over the last several years," says Ken Shropshire, a sports attorney at Duane Morris LLP.
He says not too long ago, college sports conferences and professional teams would simply sell the rights to games -- for a lump sum -- to TV networks.
But the new frontier in sports is to start your own channel. The Yankees have one and so do the "Big 10" and "Pac 12" conferences. The reason?
"Well money and a greater war chest for the individual schools in terms of recruiting and otherwise," Shropshire says.
In other words, they want to cut out the middleman.
John Ourand, a media reporter for Sports Business Daily, says while the money can be good, it's not always easy.
"This isn't a slam dunk in terms of the channel getting cable carriage," he says.
Ourand adds Comcast and Time Warner didn't carry the Big 10 channel for years, but he says the SEC is probably too big for them to ignore.
In February, we aired an obituary on this broadcast. Inflation, we said, “died at the hands of a sluggish economy and a Federal Reserve intent on maintaining interest rates at zero.”
Fast forward to this afternoon, and it’s the same old, same old. The Federal Reserve wrapped up a two-day meeting on interest rates without as much as a “How do you do?” to the prospect of inflation. They’ve clearly moved on.
But on the premise that the unexamined life isn’t worth living, is it worth trying to bring inflation back from the dead?
This is tricky business. Inflation could lead to high gas prices and high food prices, but according to David Blanchflower, the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, it doesn’t have to.
“Really, at the moment, for the economy, a little bit of inflation is our friend, not our enemy,” he says.
Blanchflower isn’t talking about Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation. He’s referring to moderate inflation -- something, he says, that could help Americans whose homes are underwater, because inflation tends to drive up real estate prices.
According to Kevin Jacques, the Boynton D. Murch Chair in Finance at Baldwin Wallace University, some inflation could help those of us who have borrowed money for things like a car or college.
“When I go back to pay back my borrowings, I am actually paying them back with cheaper dollars,” he explains.
Jacques says moderate inflation could be good for business. Companies could raise prices, that could lead to higher salaries, “and assuming they can control their costs, that could be beneficial to their profit margins; that could be beneficial to them expanding their business, creating jobs; that could be beneficial to their shareholders.”
Of course, resurrecting inflation is not risk-free. Economist Marvin Goodfriend says this kind of thinking could lead the economy to overheat: “If a little inflation is good, maybe a little more inflation is better.” It is something that is hard to control.
Goodfriend tells his students at Carnegie Mellon University to remember something.
“Inflation doesn’t die,” he says. “It’s like a vampire.”
You can vanquish it with “determined policy,” Goodfriend explains. Inflation will creep back into its coffin. And then, when you least expect it, it can come back with a vengeance.
The April unemployment numbers come out this Friday, after "weak" figures in March. But Stephen Dubner says there may be a larger, hidden side to the month-to-month swings in joblessness.
A "great reversal" in demand is what economist Paul Beaudry calls it. In the 1990s, there was healthy growth in jobs requiring a lot of education, and cognitive or technical skills.
"Then you start noticing that it has plateaued in 2000, even though more and more people are getting educated," Beaudry says. "It should have kept on going."
The result is that those high-educated workers are forced to take jobs further down the labor ladder than they were hoping for. What happens to the people who used to take those jobs?
"We started noticing all this cascading," Beaudry says. "I wouldn’t want to exaggerate -- it’s not like everyone is getting a barista job, but that’s exactly the feeling. It’s kind of like this pushing down."
So highly skilled workers go for the jobs of the lower-skilled. At the bottom of the ladder, workers can be pushed off entirely, into unemployment.
The effect has been masked, in part, by the financial crisis. Beaudry says things like banking and housing sectors may continue to improve, but this "cascading" will endure as a fundamental force dragging on the economy.
There may be a silver lining to all of this, before you get depressed.
With this recent push down the labor ladder, many highly trained and highly educated workers are going into the classroom.
This year, Teach For America received 57,000 applications -- the largest pool of interest in its history. On average, the program signs up fewer than 15 percent of those applicants, making it even more selective than many of the elite colleges where its new teachers graduate from.
It's decision day for students, and many of them will be going out of state. Who loses in this equation?
The Federal Reserve’s interest rate-setting committee wraps up a two-day meeting today. This afternoon, it will announce its next steps in shoring up the economy. The Fed has been pumping money into the economy for the past four years, buying $85 billion worth of U.S. bonds each month. The thinking is, when there’s that much cash sloshing around, interest rates will stay low. But how low and how long is anybody's guess.
Maybe you saw the ‘Google Nose’ April Fool's prank, where users clicked on 'wet dog' and sniffed their laptops to find out what it smells like. Well, new smell technology is not a joke -- or not only a joke.
Today is National College Decision Day, the day when most colleges and universities require accepted students to submit a deposit if they plan to attend. These days, the down payment is just a tiny fraction of the total cost of tuition. To cover the difference, many parents are opting for 529 savings plans -- college savings accounts that aren’t subject to any tax as long as the money’s used for tuition.
Marketplace Senior Producer of personal finance Paddy Hirsch explains how 529s work and how to decide if they are right for you.
Today is International Workers Day, and to mark the occasion, protestors in Greece are rallying against austerity. The demonstration comes just days after the country's government voted to allow 15,000 public employee layoffs.
The BBC's Mark Lowen joins Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson with the latest from Athens.
From the good people at Putnam Investments, a list of words not to use on Twitter lest you -- and your company -- come under unwanted regulatory scrutiny.
We're talking specifically financial advisory firms on social media here, but you never know -- a word to the wise and all that.
Stay away from saying things like "innacurate" or "incomplete." "Loophole" is bad. Also, "circumvent" and "overcharge."
So now you know.
The Federal Reserve’s interest rate-setting committee wraps up a two-day meeting today. This afternoon, it will announce its next steps in shoring up the economy.
The Fed has been pumping money into the economy for the past four years, buying $85 billion worth of U.S. bonds each month. The thinking is, when there’s that much cash sloshing around, interest rates will stay low. That will encourage consumers to buy houses and cars.
Len Blum, managing partner at Westwood Capital, expects the Fed to just continue what it’s doing.
“The status quo right now probably makes sense," he says. "You know, there just seems to be more risk to not continuing than continuing."
But don’t expect the Fed to step on the gas any more to stimulate economic growth. Former Fed economist Ken Kuttner doesn’t think the Fed’s Open Market Committee will try to push interest rates any lower because that would encourage risk-taking, which could lead to another bubble.
“I don’t think people on the committee are actually using the word bubble," he explains. "Excessive risk taking is sort of a code word for bubble."
Kuttner says the Fed is also worried that financial markets will get too dependent on it, if it steps up the stimulus. Forgetting how to operate on their own, without government help.
Audio Extra: Chris Low, chief economist with FTN Financial, shares his predictions on what the Federal Reserve will do next.
Deposits are due today for students wanting a spot at their college of choice this fall. And for many state public universities, an increasing number of those students will be coming from other states. That means those schools collect much higher tuition.
In-state tuition at the University of Wisconsin Madison, for example, is just over $10,000. Non-residents pay $26,000. In spite of that, out-of-state enrollment there keeps growing.
"So even though we're seeing a significant growth in interest in international and out-of-state students, we really are looking at enrolling as many Wisconsin students as we can," says Joanne Berg, vice provost for enrollment management at the university.
She says the University of Wisconsin has a cap on its percentage of out-of-state undergrads. But that ceiling went up this year, from 25 percent to 26.5 percent.
The risk, some say, is shutting out low-income students. Bradley Curs teaches higher education at the University of Missouri, where he recently did a study on the out-of-state enrollment at public universities.
"So we sort of expected that if you bring in more out of state students, you're more likely to be bringing in more wealthy affluent students," Curs says, "and we find that finding pretty strong."
On the other hand, he says, a midwestern school like Wisconsin almost needs to look out of state to diversify its student body.
Education database compiler and provider Wintergreen Orchard House lists the rates of out-of-state enrollment at public universities. Here's a brief selection from around the country, check out the full list here.
Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ): 23%
Clemson University (Clemson, SC): 29%
College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA): 32%
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA): 11%
University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA): 38%
Kent State University (Kent, OH): 11%
Mississippi State University (Mississippi State, MS): 21%
Pennsylvania State University — University Park (University Park, PA): 29%
Purdue University — West Lafayette (West Lafayette, IN): 30%
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey — New Brunswick (Piscataway, NJ): 7.3%
Texas A&M University — College Station (College Station, TX): 3%
The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX): 5%
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA): 10%
University of Delaware (Newark, DE): 59%
University of Georgia (Athens, GA): 9%
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (Champaign, IL): 7%
University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD): 23%
University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI): 36%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC): 18%
In recent days, a 22-year-old Yemeni citizen who studied in the U.S. and describes himself as fervently pro-American testified in Washington about the effect of drone strikes. Farea Al-muslimi's account of innocent bystanders who can't stand al-Qaeda but live in fear of the U.S. technology is getting shared widely online. He was even invited to brief the Obama Administration.
Regular contributor and Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain joins Marketplace Tech host David Brancaccio to explain his take on drones and their unintended consequences.
The “Digital Content New Fronts” are sort of like a big fair, where producers of online video meet advertisers to try to lock in advertising dollars for upcoming features. Google, which is raising the curtain on its new YouTube content and ad pricing tonight, is a familiar participant.
But there are some unexpected newcomers to the New Fronts as digital media advertising grows. Magazine publisher Condé Nast is one of the new big names rolling out a suite of original video content.
“We look at digital video as now another platform on which we’ll build audience on, another extension for the Condé Nast brand to reach consumers,” says Fred Santarpia, Chief Digital Officer for Conde Nast Entertainment Group.
Elevator Makeover (Glamour): A weekly series in which one woman gets a hair and beauty makeover in the time it takes her to ride the elevator from the ground floor to the top.
Publishing companies in particular, with all their content production machinery, are entering this world.
The Wall Street Journal unveiled its video line up on Monday -- including a reality show featuring startup entrepreneurs. Nina Lawrence, vice president of global marketing for advertising sales at the Journal, says this is part of an attempt to break free from the declining fortunes of print media.
“While most print based companies are either stalling or retrenching, we are aggressively moving forward into everything new,” she says.
According to digital marketing and consulting firm eMarketer, advertisers spent $4 billion on online video ads in 2012.
“Video still commands high ad rates compared to other banner ads online,” says Clark Fredricksen, a vice president at eMarketer, “so it’s a good revenue opportunity.”
He says he expects video advertising revenue to grow by more than 40 percent this year. Still, online video advertising pales in comparison to TV, which he says raked in $64 billion in ad revenue last year.
Video of The Bugeye Classic Car - GQ Car Collectors: NY EP5
Car Collectors (GQ): In this web series, car collectors, such as comedian Adam Carolla, show off their lot and latest auto obsessions.
Maybe you saw the Google Nose April Fool's prank, where users of a pretend new application clicked on "wet dog" or "Egyptian tomb" and sniffed their laptops to find out what these things smell like. Well new smell technology is not a joke -- or not only a joke.
Last week at the Crossing Europe film festival in the Austrian town of Linz, for example, an artist named Wolfgang Georgsdorf premiered a smell movie with an important distinction: It works. In NO(I)SE, an experimental film, colors flicker on a screen and a series of aromas float past your nose. Viewers got a whiff of wet earth, mushrooms, dung, shirt, chocolate, sweat, fresh cut grass, hay, lemon cake, rotting fish, ocean, and diesel fuel.
The smells are blown in and out of the theater by a smell projector, called Smeller 2.0, that occupies the whole of the back of the room. Georgsdorf finished it last year. The $260,000 projector has 64 smell source chambers all of which send a scent to the front of the machine, where a wide pipe blows fresh air through the theater and out of a window hidden behind the screen.
It makes “a smooth, gentle cake of air moving slowly through the room, transporting little compartments of smells,” says Georgsdorf.
There’s been smell at the movies longer than there’s been sound -- since the scent of roses was wafted into a theater where people were watching newsreel footage of Pasadena’s Rose Parade in 1906. The difficulty up until now has been that smells linger. You end up with a sick-making mix of smells in the air and maybe a pile of scratch cards on the floor.
Geza Schoen, a German perfumer who has created fragrances for some famous French fashion houses, created the smells for NO(I)SE.
Thanks to Smeller, he says, “you can have different smells in a row, changing after a few seconds and they don’t over-layer. That’s important.”
It means you can use them to tell stories. Smells, says Georgsdorf, take us back to the time when being able to smell the tiger when it was still a way off was a matter of life and death.
Round the back of Smeller, Georgsdorf’s assistant, Claudio Thamm, shows me the smell source chambers he’s filling ahead of another movie performance. They include “predator” and “death”. The latter, you guessed it, smells really bad. For Hollywood, maybe one day, maybe one day soon, these could be powerful story-telling tools.
Today's final note comes to us courtesy of Bloomberg.
Remember the kerfuffle during and after the financial crisis about executive pay? How disconnected it seemed to be from A) reality and B) what regular people were making?
Bloomberg points out today that the rules designed to force disclosure of CEO salaries has been, well, held up in Congress. So it's done some analysis of its own -- see the chart here.
The CEO with the paycheck that's the most removed from what his average employee makes?
Ron Johnson, who ran JCPenney for about a year-and-a-half until he was fired not too long ago. He made 1,795 times what a JCPenney clerk made.
Forms for health care reform are getting reformed. (Try saying that three times fast.)
Under the health care reform law, Americans without health insurance will soon be able to buy coverage through a program called a health insurance marketplace, also known as an “exchange.” The federal government will begin accepting applications in October.
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted those applications online. It called them “consumer-friendly” and stressed their relative simplicity.
“They’re pretty short,” says J.B. Silvers, who teaches health care finance at the Case Weatherhead School of Management. “Less than an awful lot of individual forms that people fill out these days.”
One of the applications -- for individuals whose employers don’t offer health coverage -- is just three pages long. A similar form, for families, is only seven pages.
It took me four minutes to fill out that form for families. It probably would have taken even less time if I didn’t have to dig up my most recent tax return. That tax return was the only other piece of paper I needed. I was able to fill out the rest from memory.
Draft versions of these forms were much longer and more complex, and some policy analysts worried they’d stay that way.
When it was first released in January, the form for families was 21 pages long, and it was written in confusing bureaucratic language. For example, “Does PERSON 1 plan to file a federal income tax return next year?” instead of “Do you plan to file a federal income tax return next year?”
An important three pieces of paper
At a news conference today, President Barack Obama said the new, shorter forms exemplify “the kind of refinements we’re going to continue to be working on” as the government continues to implement provisions of the healthcare reform law.
Timothy McBride, a health economist at Washington University in St. Louis, says the current applications are easier to follow.
“I was very pleased to see these revised forms, because I had seen some of the draft forms they were considering, and I was getting pretty nervous."
In a statement, the CMS said, “the paper application was simplified and tailored to meet personal situations based on important feedback from consumer groups.” Over these last few months, the agency encouraged the public to submit suggestions, comments and complaints.
It seems a little strange to put so much weight into a few blank lines, but McBride says the forms are important for enrollment.
When a form is too complicated, “it turns people off or it turns people away,” McBride says. “Health insurance is quite complicated even for those of us who know a lot about it.”
Paving the way for other changes?
From a design perspective, these forms look similar to prototypes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released, including a simplified credit card agreement.
David B. Kendall, a senior fellow for health and fiscal policy at Third Way, a Washington think tank, says these new applications for health coverage could encourage other agencies to reexamine their own forms.
“I think this particular application will be more influential in the way we do other things in government services,” Kendal says, suggesting applications for Medicaid and food stamps could be redesigned.
Well, Google is taking on Siri on its home turf. The search giant released its own personal assistant -- called Google Now -- on the iPhone this week, after a successful run on Android phones.
I couldn’t resist, I had to ask Siri what she thought about it.
“I don’t really have anything to say about Google Now or ever.”
Well Siri, you might want to reconsider that.
Google Now takes all the data we feed it -- like what we search for, what we buy, where we are -- and learns our habits, giving us information before we ask for it. I use an iPhone and downloaded Google Now yesterday but so far, it’s not very useful -- just information about the weather and nearby bus stops.
“If you just started using “Google Now” it hasn’t learned that much about your habits yet,” said Liz Gannes, a senior editor at the tech blog All Things D.
She’s got an Android, which has had Google’s personal assistant app for almost a year now, and so Google Now knows a lot about her. It tells her how long her commute will be, when she has a restaurant reservation.
Her favorite example: “I was taking a United Flight so my boarding pass was emailed to my GMail account. So the morning of the flight, it pops up in Google Now with your boarding pass right there,” she said.
Tony Costa, an analyst at Forrester, says anticipatory computing is the next frontier in mobile search. Right now, search is mostly about asking for information, but the trend is to give you information before you ask for it.
“It’s that aspect of these devices becoming active participants with their users rather than just passive order-takers,” Costa said.
In this respect, Google Now has a big head start over Siri, said Tammy Madsen is professor at Santa Clara University’s School of Business.
“There’s a lot to catch up on if we think about the search capabilities behind a “Google Now”-type feature,” Madset said.
She says whereas Apple’s focus is hardware, Google’s spent more than a decade collecting our data or getting to know us better.
Last fall Duke University announced a plan to offer online courses -- for credit -- through a company called 2U. Last week Duke’s faculty said “not so fast.”
Some professors didn’t like how the administration handled the deal, says Tom Robisheaux, chair of the Duke Arts and Sciences Council, which voted down the contract. Others just aren’t wild about teaching online.
“I think we at Duke need a little bit more time to think about this,” he says. “The only way we will get experience and answers to some of these questions is actually to try a pilot project at some point.”
With more people questioning the high price of a degree, colleges are scrambling to figure out how to use technology to save money and stay competitive. As more of them turn to online classes, some professors are pushing back.
Earlier this month faculty at Amherst College rejected an invitation to team up with Harvard and MIT to offer massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for free.
“We work with students pretty closely and the idea of teaching 100,000 students remotely just doesn't seem like it fit Amherst’s goals and values,” says Stephen George, professor of biology and neuroscience.
Faculty at both schools say they haven’t ruled out online education. A handful of professors at Duke already teach MOOCs, says Robisheaux.
They’re also aware of the risks of getting left behind.“There are very powerful reasons to want to do it if it is a great movement and that’s the direction of the future,” says Amherst’s Stephen George. “Either way is risky.”
Tenured professors have been slow to embrace online education, says Elaine Allen with the Babson Survey Research Group. In an annual survey, less than a third of chief academic officers said their faculty accept the value of teaching online.
“Over the ten years that we have done our survey, faculty opinion of online education really has not changed,” Allen says.
And it may not, she says, until her generation of college professors retires.