The New Criterion has published a new article which outlines the end of higher education in its current form. The internet and the higher education bubble are going to permanently change education sooner than later.
Higher ed: an obituary
It is not surprising that many observers despair of achieving fundamental, recuperative change in the institutions of higher education. Decades of withering criticism haven’t done much to move the needle, not least because parents still look to the credential of a BA, especially a BA from a prestigious venue, as a card of entry to the good life of the American dream.
That assumption, we believe, is about to change—is already changing. There are several sources of pressure. One has to do with the changing nature of the American dream itself: Can our society, debt-ridden as it is, continue to offer widespread material rewards to millions of college graduates?
Two related but separate issues revolve around the inner metabolism of higher education, in particular its astronomical and still escalating costs and—an even bigger reality—the wave of technological innovation that is poised to break over the entire institution of higher education like a tsunami…
It was the law professor (and prominent internet commentator) Glenn Reynolds who first popularized the phrase “higher education bubble.” Drawing on Stein’s Law, Reynolds argued that the market for higher education, like the housing market before it, is on an unsustainable, inflationary path. “Bubbles form when too many people expect values to go up forever,” he observes. “Bubbles burst when there are no longer enough excessively optimistic and ignorant folks to fuel them. And there are signs that this is beginning to happen already where education is concerned.”…
But the financial reality of higher education is merely the tip (albeit a painfully sharp tip) of the proverbial iceberg. An even larger engine of change is that extraordinary but common-as-dirt reality that we see all around us but whose power we underestimate because it has become part of the taken-for-granted furniture of our lives. We mean the Internet.