I would encourage every child of college age, and parent, to NOT do it.

I have niece at Miami of Ohio. She studies accounting to eventually take her CPA.

She can take all of her accounting classes from better institutions, online and for free. All the content — the very best of content — is available online and for free. Why not take the classes offered by Wharton?

Why not learn about differential equations from those teaching it at MIT?

The major colleges and universities are very disturbed by this trend, wondering when the dupes who keep paying to send their kids to their schools will wisen up — they KNOW they need a new business model, it's only the relentless nature of human momentum that keeps them going here. They are well-aware the only reason people are attending in person and paying is to get the diploma — the content is available for free. (The kids end up taking most of their classes online anyhow.)

It's the 21st century. I look at the nonsense at Florida Atlantic University, and other second tier colleges, and they appear to be an utter waste. I cannot speak for the Ivy league schools or other top academic institutions, though, as an outsider, they DO offer their content for free and online.

To bypass this I think is a sin, and that doesn't just pertain to college-aged young people, but to the rest of us as well.





Speak your mind

7 Comments so far

  1. Edward Lam on March 29, 2013 5:14 pm

    Ralph, I totally agree with what you say; and one compelling reason to go to a top campus is being lost. I would add as an ‘auxiliary’ though that one of the benefits from studying at any top university is the chance to meet and mix with other good minds. (The number of MBA books that talk about the fact that the major benefit of an MBA is networking not content is one example that supports this; another is the way people feel about the friends they met at uni - strong bonds can be created here, whether or not they always are). That said Universities clearly need to adapt their model and (for instance) there might be an interesting space for a disruptive non-academic institution to offer campus space and collegiate activities to students exclusively taking online distance courses…

  2. Garrick Owen on March 29, 2013 11:15 pm

    Just finished a free online class from Duke University, it was called Think again: how to reason and argue, great course work taught by very good professors. It was 12 weeks long, very rewarding for certain.

  3. Matthew on March 30, 2013 1:54 pm

    A much needed correction in the cost of “higher education” can’t be far away, can it?

  4. Michael on March 31, 2013 1:43 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I just signed up to take a Finance class at Stanford, for free, starting April 22nd. I have always wanted to go to Stanford haha.

  5. James Smith on March 31, 2013 5:59 pm

    Hi Ralph:
    Your points are well taken overall. A vital area over-looked, actually two, are admission requirements and relationships. The tougher a school is to get into, the more sought after those students become. They win the competition. In this aspect, attendance is not about content, it is about commitment, dedication, passion, and life…even if the parents made it relatively easy for the children through a more privileged upbringing. That simply means it is more consistent than those not “admitted”.

    It is about relationships. Top tier schools have relationships of trust and high expectations of consistency in results made with their vendors: industry and commerce and education. Through the selection process of admissions, the visceral experience of face to face personal knowing, and the mastery of certain things that will never be available even on the best “on line courses”, a certain attribution can be made about the graduates. $40K/year…yeah, it makes buku sense.

  6. Piero Marotta on April 1, 2013 8:59 am

    I like your ideas, however:

    1. many students (or their parents) want to buy the “brand” not the education, they want to be able to say that they went to college at “zzzz”;

    2. not all students have the skills to build a curriculum for themselves, for many of the subjects they still don’t know how much they will like them;

    3. there is still too much money involved in education,

    The future is about building your own education cherry picking from the best universities (why nor other institutions or companies or organisations) as you suggest, and hopefully will not be anymore linked to a specific age.

  7. Stefan Martinek on June 5, 2013 1:55 pm

    The 1st tier or nothing. Most of what is learned in any institution is useless or forgotten anyway. Knowledge can be 1/3, the rest is a classmate network.


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