“I am not arguing that we shouldn’t be looking long and hard at exactly how online courses are “disrupting” education, with special attention devoted to who plans to profit from new delivery models and how taxpayers will inevitably get screwed. What I’m saying is we have to start from the position that the tidal wave is already here. Indignation, however righteous, is beside the point. The kids who are cutting their teeth on Khan Academy videos for help with their chemistry and calculus homework will grow up correctly assuming that there will always be low-cost or free educational opportunities available to them online in virtually any field of inquiry. They will naturally migrate to the best stuff and be less and less willing to pay for crap. This will cause a lot of trauma for the educational establishment, but that’s not the problem of the next generation that wants to learn.”
“But I’d go a little further. Education, I’d argue, has always been the most likely sector of society to get transformed by the Internet, because the thing the Internet does better than anything else is distribute information. Distribution is not synonymous with learning, of course, but how could anyone argue against the premise that our ability to educate ourselves, on just about any topic, has vastly expanded in tune with the maturation of a global network of computers? It’s kind of amazing that it’s taken this long to start figuring out how to offer truly high-quality college level courses over the Web — isn’t this exactly what the damn thing is for?”
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