Phi Beta Cons

The Death of the College Lecture

Could it be that online education — once considered sub-par compared with traditional in-class lectures — is on its way to becoming the norm? This from the Washington Post:

To stage a lecture today, it is no longer necessary for either professor or student to enter a classroom. Instead, they can connect via YouTube or iTunes.

General education lecture courses vary little from one university to the next. Students know they can log on to their laptops and watch the very same lecture — or a better one by a celebrity professor at a rival university.

The spread of online courses has raised the currency of top faculty at Harvard, Yale and MIT, who now lecture to the world. But this transformation also has reduced the lecture to a commodity that can be bought or shared. University leaders view the format with rising unease.

They view it with unease? You don’t say.

Perhaps some top administrators realize that technology is about to undermine the entire economic system of the higher-ed industry — a system that heretofore has supported their ofttimes enormous salaries. If I were in their shoes, I think I might feel some “rising unease” too.


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