Law in the Internet Society

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OmarHarounFirstPaper 6 - 01 Dec 2011 - Main.OmarHaroun
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Why Universities May Be Doomed

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 Something to maybe look at is the Khan Academy model: Lectures are delivered online and students master the knowledge in that format. Then, the function of the in-person classroom experience is to focus on things like discussion, group-work, problem solving -- generally, the application of the knowledge.

-- BahradSokhansanj - 29 Nov 2011 \ No newline at end of file

@Eben, you make several good points. My title was a bit dramatic and while I agree that universities are too engrained in societal power structures to ever really "be doomed," I do think that examples like the MIT Open Courseware project demonstrate that people can learn a whole lot without having to pay for a university degree. It will be interesting to see whether your prediction, that universities will be forced to focus on their competitive advantage -- pedagogy -- will play out. I hope you are right, but I worry that if (as you agree) most university professors are increasingly less focused on teaching, informed students may increasingly turn to less costly alternatives for their education, and question whether paying SO MUCH money is worth the slightly higher quality of in-person teaching (as opposed to a video with the same lecture online). One thing the university degree uniquely has over other 'online educational forms' is the certification aspect, but even this is something that I think can be replicated by less-costly forms of technology-driven education. I think my bitterness mainly comes from the fact that in today's society many people (often young and not fully informed) are under the impression that the only way to achieve knowledge and success is to pay (and borrow) hundreds of thousands of dollars for a university degree, when, in reality, one can get most of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost with technology. I also wonder if some of the best teachers, who actually care about teaching their students, are the same ones who would be happy to teach without forcing their students to pay all this money for a degree. I love models like General Assembly (read this for more), which I hope will force universities to lower their tuition costs. I did not mean to sound as though I hope universities themselves will disappear.

@Devin, thanks. I think I overstated the extent to which universities must fail in order for technology to succeed, and you raise a great point about how technology, if used properly, can increase the value for university students.

@Alexey, I agree that being a student gives you plenty of time and resources to do creative things (like a social venture in my case), but I'm not sure that justifies the tuition costs.

@Bahrad, that sounds fascinating. Exactly the sort of 'creative use of technology' that @Devin is alluding to. I hope all universities move in this direction, and find a way to lower the tuition costs.

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Revision 6r6 - 01 Dec 2011 - 18:37:01 - OmarHaroun
Revision 5r5 - 30 Nov 2011 - 00:12:22 - BahradSokhansanj
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