Here's an interesting article & discussion of online vs. campus education that Professor Norvig posted on January 24th.
Peter Norvig - Jan 24, 2012 - Public
Matt Welsh on "Making Universities Obsolete." I'd settle for "better" and "more accessible," not "obsolete."
Volatile and Decentralized: Making universities obsolete
Matt Welsh works at Google; he used to be a professor of Computer Science at Harvard University.
I want to ponder the failings of the conventional higher education model for a minute and see where this leads us, and consider whether something like Udacity is really the solution.
To reemphasize, I think Peter Norvig's point is the best one in the whole post/link: 'I'd settle for "better" and "more accessible," not "obsolete."'
This is a really interesting observation: 'The real question is whether broadening access ends up reinforcing the educational caste system: if you're not smart or rich enough to go to a "real university," you become one of those poor, second-class students with a certificate Online U.'
I wonder if it will work that way. Does anyone here know enough history to comment on how universities were viewed at their inception compared to private tutors?
I think people underestimate the importance of feedback loops in the process of change. If online courses attract good students who later demonstrate improved performance I think they will eventually achieve a corresponding reputation. A challenge is meeting the twin goals of accessibility and high standards (with respect to both presentation and grading).