Thursday 22 November 2012

Will internet education burst the Higher Education Bubble


No - because if it was going to, it would already have done so.

This paper by my late penfriend Martin Trow was written at least 13 years ago:

And, really, nothing has changed since - has it?

Except that education is now a lot more expensive, and nearly all of it is a lot less educative.



Matias said...

Only a government default will burst the hidher education bubble. Academia is the higher priesthood of the current system, so it is invaluable. And the business elite seems to also value "education", because in business nowadays, government connections are essential to success.

Cantillonblog said...

I should have thought history shows us that things happen when the time is right, not necessarily when they first become technically possible. Major changes tend to involve the confluence of many large and small things all coming together.

Just amongst people I know (mature people interested in ideas but not at all involved in academe), I see that many of them are now following a more structured kind of distance learning organized by an institution whereas in the past they would have only been able to follow a course of self-directed study.

dearieme said...

In the early 80s my beloved was promised that she'd be able to do a job in Edinburgh while living in Cambridge, by virtue of the wonders of computers. Ha bloody ha!

Whereas now such things have been routine for many years. But people always, it seems, exaggerate how quickly changes wrought by IT will happen. It may prove to be similar for the Dissolution of the Universities.

George G. said...

I think many work places, especially government jobs, act like daycare for grown-ups.

It would be easy to do the jobs from a computer, at home, probably even much quicker than you can get it done at the office with endless distractions with the benefit of avoiding commute. Already so little gets done in the daycare system though that nobody trusts allowing labor to work from home. Unions and the inability to fire government workers doesn't help.

I am fortunate to be able to work from home, but as a third-party contractor my income is entire contingent on work being done. I do not show up and expect pay simply for attendance.

So higher education is daycare for late teens and early adults - not quite ready for the adult daycare system yet. How much time is actually spent on education vs. partying and socializing? Not much anymore. Education isn't really higher either, because everyone is required to go through it to obtain even a basic job, forcing it to become dumbed down.

Intelligent individuals are capable of learning from home, outside the higher education system, but for the vast majority - who participate in the daycare system, and much of whose grades depend on attendance - it is clearly impossible.