Don't thank me, really...Just in time for the new academic year, I bring you "Grading Problems Solved!" After reading this clever response to outsourcing, and having answered a few too many of those telemarketing calls (long silence; series of clicks, followed by impossibly foreign voice that says, "Good evening, I am...uh...Russell and I am calling from Big US Corporation"), I have decided that we academics must make outsourcing our friend.
We all know, courtesy of "60 Minutes" and liberal whining, that countries like India are positively teeming with articulate, educated people just aching to do the kind of jobs that Americans demand overpayment for. My proposal is simple. Even the lowliest tenure-line assistant prof. rakes in, say, 30K/year. Many of us make a wee bit more than that. Even factoring in massive student loans debts incurred by those of us with suicidal humanities tendencies, we can easily squeeze 10K off the top to hire two bright, educated, articulate foreign nationals to whom we outsource our grading responsibilities. It's like an international system of TAs: we provide the rubrics, the bell curve, the grade distribution—those of us who are over-achievers can even order a set of comment stamps with things like "This is the stupidest thing I've ever read," and "Duh!" in our own handwriting. With our new, high-efficiency grading team behind us, we have hours, and hours free...to snap up those fine single-course opportunities on campuses within a reasonable radius. No, 4K/semester is not sufficient income for a highly educated teaching professional who must live thereupon. But hire your outsource team well, fudge your enrollment numbers, and we're talking $3000.00 pure profit for each additional course with your name listed next to it. Well, after taxes. But think of it this way: students whose instructors are paid less-than-living wages can't honestly expect quality face-time, right? Be sure to include "phone conferences" in your list of outsourcee responsibilities, and let the students wonder why you develop that odd accent after 8 p.m. every night.
What about the class time it takes to manage your expanding empire? This is the beauty of the "distance-education" revolution: one hour of you, on video, can serve as a "class session" for your various client-bases. Every third class can be a "research day," "writing workshop," or "reading day."
The question is, are we going to allow our administrations to be the only ones who gain from the exponential rise in outsourcing, domestic and international? Or are we going to seize the reins and drive our own destinies?
No, don't thank me.