Published: Friday, June 14 2013 10:05 a.m. MDT
The end of higher ed. as we know it has been predicted every 5-10 years for at
least the last 40 years- technology and ease of delivery were almost always at
the base of such predictions- thus far the end has not become a reality- do some
of these new delivery mechanisms change things and are post millenial types
learning differently- probably- does that spell the end of higher ed as we know
it- I doubt it- will some changes happen- yes- but dire predictions are usually
made by those with a hope that if they get it right they will cash in and if
they get it wrong no one will ever remember or care- so say something outrageous
and hope you get lucky
Except, XelaDave, that technology has advanced so far in delivery via the
internet in the last 10 and especially, last 5 years, that it now has the
greatest disruptive potential in the last 100 years.If I could take
courses from Harvard, MIT, or Stanford, why would I take them from the U of U or
USU or BYU? If I could take courses from the best programs and professors in
the country and gather them together into one degree that cost less than
$10,000, why would I spend $10,000 to $50,000 per year anywhere else?Top tier schools will be fine. Even community colleges where there is more
technical training offered, will be fine. It's the mid-tier universities
that are going to have the biggest problems. They may end up having to
consolidate down to their best 2-3 programs or risk disappearing altogether.Will this happen overnight? No. But, it's coming.
Please no. The best education is still a great teacher in a classroom with his
or her students.You simply can't get that interplay of thought and feeling
with "distance learning." If that's the future, then prepare for a
Irony Guy, in some cases that may be true. I've had college classes that
were small, less than 15 students, and felt like the professor could have cared
less that we were there. I've had relatively large courses, 30-60
students, where the professor was fantastic. I've also been in some of
those dreaded courses where you were in an auditorium with 300-400 students- and
you know that the professor will have no time for you. That's why they had
2-3 graduate teaching assistants.It's not a dismal future- when
Sebastian Thrun offered his CS221 class at Stanford online the first time, the
top 300 students had taken it online, NOT in his classroom. At the university
level, it's about personal responsibility to learn.Education in
the K-12 level is still done best with great, caring teachers. University
courses, not so much. At that point, the learning primarily falls on the
shoulders of the student. They should be old enough now to understand that
learning isn't having a teacher hand-hold them through a class. It takes
listening, reading, and research- often times beyond what the professor is
teaching in class.
@Cincinnatus - Your belief in technology is admirable but misguided. If the
traditional Higher Ed paradigm of classroom based lecture/instructor is the base
model for which online classes are based, technology will always fail and wont
be fully utilized. The issue is not technology v classroom teaching, the
question should be how to we fundamentally change education to promote the best
environment for success. Let's not keep pushing the Utah Legislature adage
of throwing technology at an old model, lets re-think the entire model top to
Deity knows how to target an industry and bring it down; the law industry was
hit hard in 2008 with the Great Recession, now all those who worship the
university will see their foolishness.
Paraphrasing Marshall McLuhan, "We are products of our experiences not of
our understanding, therefore if we are to change our behavior we must change
our experiences, not how much we know." The loss of labs, experiential
learning, simulations, intern experiences, social interaction, student body
experiences, religious experiences, athletics, music etc, will be devastating,
unless we want to spend our lives in front of a computer screen communicating
with robots.The experience of college, good and bad, is every bit as important
as is the textbook.Ed Yager
It appears from my grey hair that one of the major complaints about so called
higher education is the exorbitant cost involved in what is appearing to be
mediocre results at best. Young people by in large do not read, cannot relate
to and function in a work environment and are self absorbed with their own sense
of worth.College has become a big business. Presidents are hired to
bring in money for the institution. Academics are secondary to money. Tuition,
donations, grants of all kinds are the focus. I suggest support of
community colleges and Vo-Ed centers and only those who are truly academically
and emotionally prepared should be matriculated into colleges and universities.
Too many underclassmen are over their heads and without a clue of what to major
in and whether it will be for their long term benefit.If education
at the high school level has been watered down, as some claim, I am of the
opinion the decline in academic performance and capability has spread to the
Ph.D. levels as well and we have a total slide in intellectual performance and
capability among academia. We have met the enemy and they are us.
Strider,Stereotyping young people is perhaps one of the biggest
problems of our society today. If you think they are that terrible, it
doesn't sound like there is much that can be done to fix it.Maybe it isn't the young people who are at fault. Maybe it's the
fact that they don't look like the idealized group their older citizens
feel they should epitomize.
@XelaDaveThis newspaper predicts the demise of Higher Ed at least
once a week.Look at what the countries that are beating our socks
off in Math and Science are doing. They are investing in teachers,
not electronic mail order classes
We need to have more people in the trades. That's an education with a
Having taught writing, marketing and entrepreneurship at five universities
(never full time -- I had other work to do), I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the
time with the students, but, some major overhauls are desperately needed in our
university system. 1) 16 weeks is too long. Make it 12 weeks max. Too much of
the remaining 4 weeks is padded and wasted in many classes. 2) Get more online
but keep the live teacher. 3) Drop the whole foolish tenure practice. 4) Drop
the entire academia rating system by rating university credentials by the # of
Phds. While helping evaluate a prospective professor to be hired I asked the
others on the committee how I should weight his Vitae and observed teaching
performance. They said #1 - research, #2 - publishing in academic journals #3 -
research ... I asked where his teaching ability should fit in -- they laughed
and said "someplace after 5th." The guy was a lousy teacher and no one
could understand his accent. But... he got hired anyway because of his research.
With the predicament that higher education finds itself in - being to expensive
for a poor college student to afford and not worth getting into debt for, it
seems that finally technology may be catching up to education. Forget who has
the best football, basketball, or other sports team and buildings - it will be
who has the best foresight to embrace technology and teach "it". How to
use it, how to do it and how make it work - technology for higher education.
@mcdugall and edyagI don't think my belief in technology is
misguided- I think it's realistic. I never stated that every class in
every program should be taught online. But, what will happen is that those
classes that can effectively be taught online are going to go that way.
Chemistry or medicine still needs labs and hands on learning. But other
programs, such as computer science, business and many liberal arts degrees (just
to name a few) can easily be taught online.In my experience, both
attending a university and having worked for one for 10 years is that much of
the college "experience" is a waste of the students tuition and fees.
By my last three years at university, I was married and was working full time.
I didn't have time to "do the college thing." I got my degree and
had work experience to back it up.But, ultimately, you're right
mcdugall- the educational experience has got to fundamentally change. Clayton
Christensen has made just that argument- for technology and new ways of
delivering learning. Why do we keep investing 100's of millions in
infrastructure (buildings) when we could focus on revamping the process?
The real test will be if quality employers -- places that college students
really want to work at, including Disney, Google, Facebook, etc. -- will hire
people with online degrees. In short, the new education model needs to prove
its worth in the workplace. Nonetheless, universities are facing a
grim future with overemphasis on research that contributes little to society.
Legislatures are cutting funding to high ed largely because faculty seem to be
out-of-touch, conducting research simply for other fellow academics to read, but
that have little interest or value to the real world. Universities
should be in the business of benefitting society and solve real world problems
-- not simply research for the sake of getting tenure.
Personally, I enjoyed being on a campus and interacting with other students.That much said, what was frustrating was the costs. For my major I had
to take the calculus series. Our books were 800 pages and weighed a ton --- and
each semester the teacher would change books, so we had to buy a new one, and
since they were no longer being used, we couldn't sell them back. I think
it is called 'kick-backs to the professors for selling books for the
printing companies'. Costs are so out of control that in order
to get through for a simple 4 year degree, most will never repay their student
loans before they retire --- If they can get a job, that is.
Cut out the General Ed courses and get the bachelors down to a 3 year degree.
They can take the GEs online for free.
I want to thank all the people that has helped me at the university of Google.
Thank you for sharing and taking the time for giving the knowledge you have. I
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