This spring, amid shuttering classrooms and a widening pandemic, Michael Moe, the CEO of Global Silicon Valley, hosted a series with Arizona State University called “The Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning.” “The genie is not going back in the bottle,” he wrote with his colleague Vignesh Rajendran in an accompanying blog post: “Essentially 100 percent of students are now taking their courses online. Our expectation is that this shift is here to stay.”
For educational-tech proponents like Moe, we are trapped in a perpetual dawn. For them “dawn” is not a metaphor for a watershed moment, carrying us from past to future, but a cyclical event: regular, brief, and most often slept through.
Those of us who labored through the MOOC imbroglio earlier this decade thought these old arguments were safely buried. Yet in the wake of Covid-19, they have torn through their caskets and begun stumbling around again.