As this blog will testify, there has been an uptick in chatter about the internet taking a bite out of higher ed.
Jordan Weissmann wrote a piece last week for the Atlantic entitled Why the Internet Isn't Going to End College as we Know It
The author's main thrust
is that nobody has figured out how to build a cheap, high-quality online university. Not even close.
But while enrollment in for-profit colleges has kept on going up in the past decade, so too have non-profit public and private institutions. Weissman argues
What appears to have happened is that demand for higher education has pushed our traditional educational infrastructure past capacity, allowing for-profit schools to swoop in and aggressively market to students at the low-end of the market.
As for the fairly recent announcement of schools like Stanford and MIT making some course content available online, the author suggests
the web may actually help them extend their brands, not just across the country, but globally.
Instead of replacing higher ed, Weissmann concludes that technology will continue to be adapted by traditional universities/colleges, and that will
lead to fewer lecturers on campus, as schools begin sharing more big survey courses.
This seems like a more rational take on the changes happening in higher ed, although, as was illustrated with the University of Virginia situation, tenured faculty members will not be thrilled with the idea of classes essentially being outsourced, resulting in staff cutbacks. What do you think? Will their be a smooth transition? Or are we yet to see more upheavals in higher ed as traditional education pushes back against technological advances?