I have been swamped lately, and with bouts of a nasty bug moving slowly through my family. Hoping to provide book review soon for two relevant pieces of nonfiction I've currently got my nose in.
For now, here's a link from TIME: Why College May Be Totally Free Within 10 Years.
....if [author and entrepreneur Vivek] Wadhwa is right the student debt problem will take care of itself—at least as it relates to the next generation and those that follow. Online courses will proliferate to such a degree that acquiring knowledge will become totally free. There will still be a cost associated with getting a formal degree. But most universities, he says, “will be in the accreditation business.” They will monitor and sanction coursework; teachers will become mentors and guides, not deliver lectures and administer tests. This model has the potential to dramatically cut the cost of an education and virtually eliminate the need to borrow for one, he says.
... [Hedge fund billionaire Peter Thiel's] focus is on skipping college altogether unless you can get into a top-tier school and are certain to enter a highly paid field. He believes we are experiencing a “psycho-social” bubble in higher education. Everyone believes they have to have a college degree and so they will borrow and pay any amount to get one from any school.
Most families view a college degree as insurance; something they can buy to guarantee that they do not fall through society’s cracks, Thiel says. But what they are really buying is “a dunce hat in disguise” because employers have less respect than ever for a degree that comes from a second-tier university. Such a degree, in Thiel’s view, brands a graduate as mediocre.
What do you think? Could the model of cheap online education for anyone, pay a university only if you need a diploma, ever supplant the traditional model? If it can't supplant it, will -- at least -- another viable choice become available for the motivated, out-of-the-box-thinking, would-be intellectual?