07 September 2009

Disruptive Educational Technology: Doom U?

... the day is coming—sooner than many people think—when a great deal of money is going to abruptly melt out of the higher education system, just as it has in scores of other industries that traffic in information that is now far cheaper and more easily accessible than it has ever been before. Much of that money will end up in the pockets of students in the form of lower prices, a boon and a necessity in a time when higher education is the key to prosperity. Colleges will specialize where they have comparative advantage, rather than trying to be all things to all people. A lot of silly, too-expensive things—vainglorious building projects, money-sucking sports programs, tenured professors who contribute little in the way of teaching or research—will fade from memory, and won’t be missed._WashingtonMonthly
Burck Smith is an internet entrepreneur who pioneered online 24/7 tutoring with the online service SmartThinking, in 1999. Smith followed his early success with StraighterLine, an online set of easily accredited introductory university courses available for $99 a month.

As Smith's online educational technologies have fought their way against the well-entrenched "educational-industrial complex," Smith learned many lessons about how to deal with triassic era education. It costs almost nothing to store and communicate fixed content over the net. By supplementing cheap online course materials and lectures with always-available online tutors, Smith learned to provide a more useful service to first year students than universities themselves provided -- and for a much lower cost.

The zombies of higher ed are fighting back, of course. There is a lot of money and prestige at stake, and one must not expect the vampires of the ivy to fade away quietly. But as the economic foundations of the obsolete indoctrination centers crumble, the rotten core must eventually be exposed to its angry victims and their parents. It will not be pretty.

But the immediate aftermath of distruptive technologies is rarely pretty. No, it is the long term healthy growth made possible by tearing down the dysfunctional obstacles, which is the goal of the disruptive technologists. That, and the profit to be made by creating the space for that healthy long term growth.

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3 Comments:

Blogger kurt9 said...

Doom U.! I love it!

Its about time the parasitical education industrial complex goes down in flames.

We also need to develop SENS so that we can deep six the medical industrial complex as well.

Monday, 07 September, 2009  
Blogger Ronduck said...

The entrepreneur in your post has managed to lower the cost of the first year of a four year degree, but I would like to point out that many public universities in Scandinavia issue three year degrees. The reason they can have three years instead of our four is that their high schools actually teach college bound students properly. The entire first year of college is a waste meant to weed out the underqualified and teach what should have already been taught.

Monday, 07 September, 2009  
Blogger Richard Kulisz said...

Your ranting against universities for the "indoctrination" they instill makes you sound like a right-wing fascist. Oh sorry, a "proper conservative American patriot", the kind that votes for the Republican party.

The reason you sound like a fascist is because of the casual way you lie. Like calling universities indoctrination centers. Instead of primary and secondary schools, which is where the real indoctrination happens. Where you're taught to Love America and that The Whole World Is America and Praise The Fathers [suck cock] and One Nation Under God.

Nah fuck that sounds like, you ARE a rabid right-wing fascist.

Note for the record that I don't give a shit whether your right-wing American universities live or die. Cause hey, liberalism is inherently right-wing. Calling a university liberal as if it were some kind of opposite to the omnipresent American fascism is disgustingly disingenuous.

Sunday, 13 September, 2009  

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