Hat tip to Instapundit, and Glenn Reynolds, who’s been following this phenomenon for years.
Cuban lays down some practical advice for high school graduates: Go to college, but be especially smart about it, because a lot of colleges are going to go out of business:
‘The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructible. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world’
Look beyond the rock-climbing walls, expensive dorms and diverse brochures, and ask the right questions. Many colleges have been locked in a competitive feedback loop, partially funded by student loan money.
Harvard will still be there, but it is already in the process of adapting. MIT has unrolled online classes for years now. Others will survive with varying degrees of success.
As for the media, the NY Times is still around, but not all papers are, and many blogs and individual projects have crowded in. Most papers resisted the change, the Times especially, thinking they could coast on their size, depth, and reputation alone. Their size, depth, and reputation have probably helped pull the Times through, but the new advertising isn’t bringing in money like the old advertising did. The industry is still in flux.
To drive the point home, Matt Drudge, of the Drudge Report, made a website which is basically a clearing house of information that gets billions of views a month. Sure, it’s sensationalistic at times, but Drudge realized early on that everyday people, armed with online access, often know a lot more than a few hundred people sitting in a newsroom do, especially about current events. He aggregates that information and knowledge created by the new technology, updating his site many hundreds of times per day.
So, even if you’re a Luddite, it’s important to understand that technology is allowing individuals access to much in the way of ideas, books, information, news, ideas, current and world events, as well as social connectivity. Successful online endeavors organize around this new reality. This is why colleges are analogous to old media. It once took a few hundred people to gather the cameras, technology, production, field reporting, lighting, a fleet of trucks, distribution, advertising and presenting to deliver information to everyone else.
Now you can gain access to ideas, books, information, news, ideas, current and world events on a handheld device which costs a few hundred dollars, with a plan of about $50 a month and up. Just like some papers, publications, and news stations will stick around, it will be on the strength of the value they deliver to customers and their ability to adapt to the new environment.
Without a doubt, colleges and universities do much more than deliver value to “customers,” and this blog thinks it’s worthwhile to save egalitarianism from the excessive egalitarians, college culture and pedagogical rigor from inflated grades, merit from the political philosophy of many meritocrats, and also keep us from slipping back into a old boys network of the legacy few and well-connected. Higher ed is often for the higher things, a culture of learning, and getting smart people where they need to be (challenged and uncomfortable at times). There is a core educational mission combined with the genuine hopes of most Americans that could be greatly helped by technology.
Related On This Site: Repost: Mark Cuban From His Blog: ‘The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon’…From The New Criterion: ‘Higher Ed: An Obituary’,,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’
The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill: From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.
A deeper look at what education “ought” to be: A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’
Allan Bloom had in mind the idea of a true liberal arts education: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’