Skip to comments.[It's] The End of the University as We Know It
Posted on 01/29/2013 11:41:33 AM PST by Jeff Winston
In fifty years, if not much sooner, half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in the United States will have ceased to exist. The technology driving this change is already at work, and nothing can stop it. The future looks like this: Access to college-level education will be free for everyone; the residential college campus will become largely obsolete; tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs; the bachelors degree will become increasingly irrelevant; and ten years from now Harvard will enroll ten million students.
(Excerpt) Read more at the-american-interest.com ...
The current compromise is making the course material available but charging for testing and the actual degree itself. As participation becomes more interactive (i.e. webcams and real-time interaction between instructor and student) the advantages of large classrooms diminish. They don't go away altogether - I'm taking a class at the moment (yes, even a superannuated old git like me) and the classroom environment does seem a little more immersive. YMMV - young students used to the technology might not agree. Gamers spend a lot of time in a virtual environment anyway, so it may not matter to them. I still like it.
Some major institutions - CalTech, MIT - are making some amazingly high-level classwork available. For courses where the curriculum doesn't change a lot - English literature - the buyin in course preparation is a one-time shot with little maintenance necessary. The class I'm taking now is from a retired (and returned) Classics professor whose coursework on Greek mythology was originally written to VCR and is still in use essentially unaltered except for the media. He was laughing about it the other day - what took a studio and endless rehearsal to record then is done now by a student sticking a cellphone up into the air.
Other stuff - technology courses, for example - where there is a great deal of churn in the course material are less remunerative for the institution, especially where class sizes are smaller as in senior and graduate-level classes. The U is still a corporation, and if it can't turn a buck my phony-baloney salary doesn't get paid. That's how it is in the ed biz.
I do see this helping impact student loan debt and yes, there will need to be fewer professors with slightly different skillsets. They have to go with the flow too. My guy, well, I'm going to help him log in again in another few minutes. Professors always will be professors.
I’m not buying it. The fact is the information has always been available, universities don’t hand out information, they hand out proof of completion. I’ve always quiped that if I want to learn something I’ll read a book school is for degrees. As long as employers find degrees important, which currently trends upward, there will be a place for universities. Online classes might become more the norm, less campus life, but there will still be universities handing out proof.
University Education bump for later......
“Any degree obtained online will be deemed as worthless as a degree from the University of Phoenix”
Or, the University of Florida, the University of Alabama, Ohio University, the University of North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Troy University, or Auburn University, all of which offer online degrees today—right now.
This watering down has been exacerbated by two things: 1) the rise of nouveau "colleges and universities," including a variety of "online" schools, and 2) seemingly unlimited government funding for higher education.
Say what you will about businesses, their quirks, and shortcomings, education establishes a pecking order, certainly in larger US companies. Your education lends tangible credibility, whether or not your particular job requires the degree or not. Degrees also give employers something tangible by which to compare potential new employees, and reasons to promote established employees.
You may rise through the ranks on your own merits and success, but a degree gets you in the door. You can argue that employers really want employees who are good workers....blah, blah. All employers want good workers, but it's very difficult to prove you're a good worker with online courses and certificates only.
This isn't just an employer issue. There is a value system in place today, where we in the US still value these credentials too. Would we fly in planes, drive in cars, or live in buildings designed by people with questionable backgrounds or specious qualifications? Would you seek medical advice or care from someone with an associate-level degree from an online school? What about legal advice from someone graduating from Dakota College at Bottineau, or Delgado Community College?
The value of some degrees is neglible, and as an employer, I'd be hard-pressed to show any extra consideration to a potential employee over another. But, until a new value system for employee credentials is created, the degree will still be of value for many employees and industries.
I'd be remiss if I didn't include that for those who may be in sales, those who plan to start their own business, or those pursuing legitimate trades such as plumbing, electrical, construction, welding and other such fields, a four-year degree would not add a significant value. There may also be exceptions in smaller businesses not laden with bureaucratic policies and procedures.
E-harmony and other websites do such work far more efficiently and cheaply.
E-harmony and other websites do such work far more efficiently and cheaply.
I agree however most students will not realize those benefits as they don’t have the people skills required. And then only in certain classes with certain teachers who you bond with.
More and more people are unable to find employment so they have more time to educate their spawn. One hell of a lot of 1-12 grades can be done with a computer and a loving parent.
Keep your kids out of the gov.con child prisons. Some will be better off going to a college but most wont and they can pursue a degree cheaply at a comfortable pace while working for a living.
Sounds like more fun than most schools. I hated having to take so many unrelated courses.
That in fact is a potential issue.
I suspect virtual environments for teaching are going to get more and more sophisticated. And they won't necessarily look just like traditional classrooms. Imagine a virtual archaeology class where it looks like you, the professor, and the other students are visiting the Acropolis... or Macchu Picchu.
That's only true to a certain degree. Pretty much any technology, relatively speaking, could be described as a "free lunch." We can get news instantly beamed to us from 5000 miles away. What's the cost? Negligible. New technologies often offer great advantages over the old ones.
Maybe, but a some of that has to do with personal contact. If you're around Harvard people all the time, you conform to their beliefs and behaviors. If you're not, maybe your real world surroundings have more of an influence. To be sure, though, public schools have gone pretty far with indoctrination already.
“The main reason for college for many is to meet a potential spouse from a similar or higher status.”
Actually, the HS grads go to college to get away from home (on their parents’ money), party on booze and drugs, and get laid (and experiment with gender benders). Things haven’t changed since I attended school 50 years ago except prices have gone through the roof, there are more required crap courses and majors, and the kids are stupider.
“...tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs...”
Be still, my heart!
Univ of PHX anyone?
The good private colleges are awash in high quality potential spouses and the girls often outnumber the boys significantly.
If it really was as effective as many purport... then there would still be a soviet union and people wouldn't be risking their lives trying to escape North Korea and Cuba.
Moreover, the state schools are infected with all kinds of worthless courses, taught by even more worthless tenured professors, that are made mandatory. Unless a student is enrolled in hard sciences or engineering courses where learning actually occurs, forget liberal arts and social sciences. Any course with “Studies” as part of its title is absolutely worthless.
I also question the numbers of “high quality potential spouses” at the 4 year schools. The women's studies programs destroy and indoctrinate far too many young women. These women are turned into Harpies seeking revenge upon any male dumb enough to get near them. The products being graduated from our schools of higher education are not educated; they are indoctrinated.