Yesterday, in my posting “This week’s astounding job offer”:

All of this is suppositional, and I haven’t found any source of information about the entity I’ve been calling YangCo and its programs that is not provided by YangCo. There is, however, such an entity, with a legal name I’ll conceal as the name BFD (for Big Fucking Deal) Research.

In a comment, Stewart Kramer went looking for information about a BFD organization — but BFD is my mocking concealment of the actual initialism, so he found nothing useful. I reacted to his efforts:

On the chance that the actual organization was a legitimate enterprise (with woolly, largely empty, p.r. text) being exploited by someone, I concealed its identity. But now I have been to the ASC (American Scholastic Convention) website and can say that it’s a bizarre and baffling pile of stinking dead fish.

Now I explain.

From the ASC website (in characteristically awkward English):

We are enthusiastic about eliminating the gap of gaining high-quality academic resources between elite education and the ordinary students in the world.

And then the meat.

Join ASC. A registration form asking for: name, school, [chosen] password, passport [so the assumption is that the registrant is an international student], mailbox, send code [I have no idea what “mailbox” and “send code” are about] — plus a box to check, labeled “I agree to the agreement on ASC” [this presumably refers to a document available somewhere on the site, just not here]

Our Faculty. A collection of instructors, each with a code number (rather than a name), a photo (most of them deliberately fuzzed to make them less recognizable; some clear photos; some with the “ASC Research Program” logo in their place), and their academic title, department, and institution (e.g., “Associate Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University” [MS&E is a genuine department at Stanford] and “Professor of History, Harvard University”

Programs. Four pages, with the footer label “ASC RESERACH” on each. The first lists:

2022 Summer PBL, 7/23-8/19 2h (with a faculty code number)

2022 Summer PBL, 7/30-8/21 2h (with a faculty code number)

plus four named courses, each with a faculty code number, and the time

8/3/20-8/22/20 TBD [to be determined]

The course titles: Quasi-experimental Design in Higher Education; Energy, Engines and the Environment; Entertainment and Media Leadership and Management; Photography and Andy Warhol [these courses are presumably taught by the tutorial method mentioned in my previous posting; there would then appear to be some PBL courses and some tutorial courses]

The four pages have 4 summmer intensive PBL courses in 2022, 15 named courses in August 2020. I can find no information about the content of the PBL courses.

Each course listing has an APPLY button for prospective students to press. But you have to be registered to use this button.

In any case, the target students appear to be international students in American high schools (this is, after all, the American Scholastic Convention). But the named courses are clearly specialized university courses; I don’t think there’s any high school interest in Quasi-experimental Design in Higher Education, for example. So maybe there are different audiences for the PBL courses and the named courses.

Of course, I have no evidence that any of these courses were ever given. (The time for all of them is now past; there’s no point in pressing APPLY now.)

I did search through the faculty list, looking for someone I might actually know, to ask them about their experience teaching for ASC. Without success, but I was able to identify that Stanford MS&E professor and have written him to ask about his experience.

Half an hour later: my excellent colleague tells me that he got the same offer letter that I got, but did not accept it. Despite that, ASC lists him as a faculty member, teaching a PML course this summer. So, monumentally fishy.

Nowhere in any of this is money mentioned, but money must come from somewhere to float the organization — either from payments by (or for) the students or from charitable donations (ASC is a non-profit organization, after all, and donations can be milked). At the moment, this is all mysterious. But my desire to root around among the stinking dead fish for some handhold of reality has abated. I cede the field to the Scholars of Scam, the Sultans of Swindle (fade to Dire Straits and “Sultans of Swing”).



One Response to “BFD is ASC”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Only in writing to my Stanford MS&E colleague did it occur to me to ask “Why me?” (and him). I pretty much understand why I get so many scam offers having to do with my blog (I get a very large number of views per day), but with teaching? (I’ll probably inquire of my Stanford linguistics colleagues.)

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