Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dismembering University

I'm not exactly sure why I'm seeing all these articles lately - hopefully it's not just wishful thinking on the part of parents paying tuition bills this week but here's another article on how the web will disrupt education (BigMoney) - much in the same way it's changed journalism/the news (for the better while killing off the slow and weak? [TechCrunch]).

BigMoney focuses on especially low cost liberal arts degrees and ever rising tuitions. While it's a nightmare scenario for some, if these institutions are able to adequately build or identify the quality of thinking their offline counterparts do, this will be a boon especially to the poor (both relative and absolute) around the world who have even greater access to higher ed:

When this happens—be it in 10 years or 20—we will see a structural disintegration in the academy akin to that in newspapers now. It will mean fewer professors and worse pay; low-paid, untenured faculty will do much of the teaching. Online instructors are already joining freelance reporters in the underpaid, insecure, overeducated work force that works from home. The market will encourage this trend. The typical 2030 faculty will likely be a collection of adjuncts alone in their apartments, using recycled syllabi and administering multiple-choice tests from afar.

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