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Future of College May Be Virtual
Categories: Education

CS Monitor‘s Innovation Channel on rising costs pushing students online. Excerpts below. Full post at http://bit.ly/3AcvJV.

I want to know: What barriers do you see to complete online education?

“In many ways, education hasn’t changed much since students sat at the feet of Socrates more than two millenniums ago. Learners still gather each autumn at colleges to listen to and be questioned by professors.

But the Internet has caused sudden shifts in other industries, from the way people read news to the way they buy music or plan travel. Might higher education be nearing such a jolt?

Aside from the massive dent put in their endowments by Wall Street’s woes, colleges and universities mostly have been conducting business as usual. Costs have soared compared with general inflation, but students still flock to classes.

Many have theorized that the Internet could give education a rude shock. Recently, an opinion piece by Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University in New York who once served as an Internet organizer for presidential candidate Howard Dean, put the possibility in dramatic terms.

“Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which ‘going to college’ means packing up, getting a dorm room, and listening to tenured professors,” she wrote in The Washington Post. “Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet.”

….An online learning experience for the self-motivated, organized person could be “extraordinary,” she says. And we’ve only scratched the surface. “The totally free online university that is stitched together from MIT-quality professors is going to happen very soon.”

Posted by Kathy Sandler on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 12:01 AM

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