Monday, October 10, 2011

The Really Big Class

FutureLawyer on the future of online universities:

What if a Stanford Professor, known around the world as an expert in robotics, taught the same class to 130,000 students on the Internet for free that he offered to students on the Stanford campus paying $50,000 a year in tuition?

[Execupundit note: What if the class was taught for a reduced amount that would provide a generous profit to the professor and a bargain for the individual student? Is a - or its equivalent - deal for classes in our future?]


Dan in Philly said...

What with one thing (free ivy-league level online courses already available) and another (libraries offering free courses taught by respected professors), the only thing you can't get for free these days is the sheepskin. I'm not sure a dead animal is worth $100,000.

The overall value of a degree is getting the interview, and this has been true for quite some time. Everyone no matter their profession needs to recognize that continuing to improve oneself is not only essential, it's quite inexpensive. Over the long run, the real value you get from getting a free top level education will take you farther than where ever you originally went to school (or didn't go to school, as the case may be).

Michael Wade said...


I think that Charles Murray's advocacy of certification in various narrow topics makes more sense than many degree requirements.


Anonymous said...

I would have thought that in an online class of unspecified people one would be less likely to pay attention and learn. But I've been attending online leadership courses and I'm finding that I can pay attention just fine to subjects I want to hear taught by good instructors. A reasonable price - as opposed to expensive or free - can motivate too, as well as fund quality service.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Dan in Philly's comment: when I was in college it was way too easy to get a sheepskin once the price hurdle was past. We used to tease about beer being the main focus of college. The cert tests I've had since are wicked hard and were, I felt, much greater achievements and more honest learning compared to the snow-jobbing and short term fact memorization skills adequate for a pretty good grade in college. College becomes irrelevant even for an interview once one is a few years away from graduation date. A cert that's a few years outdated, though, can reasonably be replaced by a new cert at a reasonable price in dollars and time.