Playing the Jester is Hard Work: Moo Workers Unite! Sheesh!

Just in the last few months we have seen a renewed interest in what MOO educators can do, working together for our common good. An announcement on a listserv such as MOO-ed serves to elicit similar announcements. The recent posts to MOO-ed, a roll call if you will, of MOO folks re-introducing themselves and their work, we feel, has served to dispel some of the isolation people are experiencing, especially in our off-line conditions.

There is much work to share, many studies to s/cite, innovative teaching practices being enacted on MOOs which deserve our support. As Sharon Cogdill notes, we need to honor each other, and in so doing, build not only a reputable "body of knowledge" to refer to, but also the very community which will sustain our work and play. At the same time, there is much work that goes unpaid, unrecompensed in release time, salaries, or un/under/valued for hiring, tenure, and promotion, or simply unnoticed. We found that while people seemed fairly comfortable reporting hours and work done on MOO, very few, if any, actually talked in terms of actual $$$$. We consider this highly political, and figure as long as we remain silent on this issue, the use and abuse of students, lab rats, teachers, MOO admins, lay MOO folk, and all varieties of MOO workers, will be allowed to continue. Our "addiction," our devotion to MOO may well serve to allow administrators to benefit from far more unpaid work than we would ever tolerate under other conditions.

Dr. Walthers notes that many institutions do not make a habit of retaining successful graduate students once they have "graduated." We would maintain that this is one more envelope that educational MOOs will push. Perhaps, those institutions need to question their labor practices, their hiring, tenure and promotion practices, as they lose the very resources, the teachers, researchers and students, who can build the institutions' visions for the future. In the meantime, it seems silly indeed, and not very jesterly we might add, NOT to insist that our play/work be evaluated by someone knowledgeable. And if the institution does *not* have the resources to do so, then we ought to question that practice.

Table of Contents

Janet Cross

Kristian Fuglevik