Sounds great… except for the continuing high prices… This HAS to change!!!
WSJ: Imagine a university without textbooks and classes without calendars. But still costing a lot of money.
Here are four areas where you can expect to see major changes and one area where you probably won’t:
In the near future, professors will run their courses over digital platforms capable of collecting data on each student’s progress. These platforms were initially developed for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. However, universities are now folding these platforms back into their traditional classes because they make it easier to share content, host discussions and keep track of student work. A professor might still “teach” a class, but most of the interaction will happen online.If professors and students do meet in a physical classroom, it will be to review material, work through problems or drill down on discussion topics. Scenes like John Houseman lecturing to an auditorium full of students in “The Paper Chase” will be a thing of the past.
These platforms are constantly improving. Soon, they will be able to monitor which students are spending 15 minutes on a calculus problem and which ones slog away for an hour. This can raise red flags for professors (and their teaching assistants) about who might need extra help. As Rovy Brannon, associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, says, “The course platform will get to know you far better than your professor does today.”
As more classes move partially or entirely online, the requirements of having a uniform start and end date diminish. Having all the class material online also means some students could sail through a semester’s worth of classes in a few weeks and then start again with new courses. Think of it as the academic equivalent of binge viewing on Netflix. Some might finish a bachelor’s degree in two years. Those who stick around for four years might have three majors.
It’s a move that educators are likely to encourage: Fast learning makes their undergrads look more impressive and lets schools pocket more revenue by moving more students through the system. “You used to be on a regimented schedule that produced this experience,” says Dr. Crow, the Arizona State president. “We realize that’s one path, but only one of several, and we have to facilitate all of them.”
It used to be that getting accepted to a prestigious university was how you accessed the best professors and could hang out with the smartest students. That’s because universities were, for the most part, closed information systems that doled out their content to a select few. That’s changing.
More universities are making their courses available through online platforms such as Coursera and edX, and great lectures can be found on YouTube. Students are supplementing their own school’s classes with online lectures from rock-star professors at other institutions.