The End of the University as We Know It | Nathan Harden | Jan./Feb. 2013 | The American Interest Magazine

Economics of higher education, says @NathanHarden, will drive both students at both private and public universities to turn to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).  Machine-guided learning can be as good as, or faster than, classroom instruction.  High university salaries have made incumbent leaders conservative.

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.[….]

Credential inflation is devaluing the college degree, making graduate degrees, and the greater debt required to pay for them, increasingly necessary for many people to maintain the standard of living they experienced growing up in their parents’ homes.[….]

Technology will also bring future students an array of new choices about how to build and customize their educations. Power is shifting away from selective university admissions officers into the hands of educational consumers, who will soon have their choice of attending virtually any university in the world online. This will dramatically increase competition among universities. [….]

… researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, who’ve been experimenting with computer-based learning for years, have found that when machine-guided learning is combined with traditional classroom instruction, students can learn material in half the time. Researchers at Ithaka S+R studied two groups of students—one group that received all instruction in person, and another group that received a mixture of traditional and computer-based instruction. The two groups did equally well on tests, but those who received the computer instruction were able to learn the same amount of material in 25 percent less time. [….]

… what about the social experience that is so important to college? Students can learn as much from their peers in informal settings as they do from their professors in formal ones. After college, networking with fellow alumni can lead to valuable career opportunities.[….]

The biggest obstacle to the rapid adoption of low-cost, open-source education in America is that many of the stakeholders make a very handsome living off the system as is. In 2009, 36 college presidents made more than $1 million. That’s in the middle of a recession, when most campuses were facing severe budget cuts.[….]

Full essay as “The End of the University as We Know It” | Nathan Harden | Jan./Feb. 2013 | The American Interest Magazine The End of the University as We Know It – Nathan Harden – The American Interest Magazine.

The End of the University as We Know It - Nathan Harden - The American Interest Magazine