A sea-change is coming to education

Sites like this are eventually going to reshape the face of modern education:


MIT’s open courseware

It’s interesting. In a sense, universities are in the same position as the music, film, tv, and book publishing industries. They serve as filters/aggregators/publicists for knowledge, learning, and methods-of-thought. They are subject to the same disintermediation the internet brings to those other industries.

Let’s compare the response of the industries:

  • Music: fingers in ears, lalalalala, haven’t found the right economic model, suing their customers
  • Film: more open, haven’t found the right economic model, suing their customers
  • TV: generally open, have several economic models (I don’t know whether they’re working or not, but the networks seem to be happy with the way they are presenting tv shows with limited commercials online)
  • Books: generally open, haven’t found the right economic model (Kindle’s $10 pricing is moving in the right direction)
  • Education: ???

The position of many of the larger, more prestigious universities seems to be that they think their main value is in the certificate they provide at the end of the process. If they hold to that, sooner or later they’re going to get a rude awakening. There will always be a certain cachet to a degree from MIT, but someone somewhere is going to open a “just as good as” university, based on lecture materials provided by other institutions, and people will take it seriously (not as seriously as they do MIT, but not everyone wants, needs, or deserves an MIT degree), and the bottom will fall out.

Addendum: YouTube just announced an educational site. One more step along the path…


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