4 Replies to “The Coming Professoral Obsolescence?”

  1. I see no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate this. especially for introductory classes, and even more especially for stuff that should be learned in high school. It brings a ‘learn at your own pace’ sensibility and personal accountability to education. Graduate students can easily fill in the role of TA as they do now – personalizing instruction.
    Professors will always be necessary to present advanced topics and cutting edge type research, framed in a contemporary context. For in depth tutorials and experiential learning (labs, projects, etc) there will still be a need for coursemasters and professors, but if I have to review the quadratic formula in a college chemistry class I will literally go out of my head.
    In some ways doesn’t this get back to the medieval university. Professors rarely spending time educating the masses, but instead pursuing their own idiosyncratic ideas and bringing along a few dedicated students.

  2. The Global Recession is forcing universities to re-think how they monetize their services. I’ve been saying for a decade that it’s inevitable that Microsoft or Google or someone will run on-line campuses of prestige universities. They’ll offer extra pay to professors, charge higher tuition than f2f students do, kick back a lot of that to the university, give actual diplomas, and pocket the profit. This combines the success of Distance Learning with combinations of Brand Name providers. Whoever owns the Intellectual Property, it’s a defensible business plan with a first mover advantage and economy of scale.
    “Where’d you go to school?”
    “Me too. But I don’t remember you.”
    “That’s because I was at the FaceBook campus.”

  3. Sure. But your scheme will erode the university’s prestige which depends in part on the exclusivity of their student admissions.
    Seems to me that the money goes to whoever hands out the degrees. So you set up a “school” that does nothing but
    1) point students to online lectures,
    2) test the students,
    3) hand out degrees for statistory test performance,
    4) charge for these services whatever the market will bear.
    The reason that such a scheme has yet to be implemented is that current accreditation bodies would refuse to accredit it.

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