There is a tsunami wave out in the ocean that’s headed toward the higher ed shore.
Don’t know exactly how tall it is or how wide. Can’t quite make out the exact form but it is large and it is on the way.
The tsunami is online courses.
In her Wall Street Journal article, Watching the Ivory Tower Topple, Holly Finn provides a partial view of what’s on the horizon.
How does this look for opening up education?
Last fall, a couple of hundred Stanford students registered for Sebastian Thrun’s class on artificial intelligence. He offered the course free online, too, through his new company Udacity, and 160,000 students signed up. For the written assignments and exams, both groups got identical questions—and 210 students got a perfect overall score. They all came from the online group.
Look at the results again – a thousand times more students online than in the chairs. All of the perfect scores were from online students.
There are tremendous advantages to what will develop.
Radically increased availability and accessibility. More students can attend. You can study on the evenings and weekends instead of taking four years off work. Far lower cost – you won’t have to drop fifty or a hundred grand for the degree. Work through classes at your own pace.
Students who aren’t at the top of the class can keep up:
In this new educational model, the shy and the easily distracted get advantages. You can rewind a video and watch whenever and as many times as you like.
Anyone who wants to do so can get topline courses:
The next big thing, though, is college-level MOOCs and MOOSes: Massive Open Online Courses and Seminars. Harvard already showcases coursework like professor Michael Sandel’s “Justice” lectures online, gratis. Now Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, Stanford and others are offering advanced online courses, some with accreditation.
Are there obstacles and challenges? You bet.
Are they solvable? Count on it.