Virtualized – The End of the University as we Know It


In fifty years, if not much sooner, half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in the United States will have ceased to exist. The technology driving this change is already at work, and nothing can stop it. The future looks like this: Access to college-level education will be free for everyone; the residential college campus will become largely obsolete; tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs; the bachelor’s degree will become increasingly irrelevant; and ten years from now Harvard will enroll ten million students.

This is the opening paragraph of the cover story of the current issue of The American Interest, a bimonthly magazine on international affairs, yet another dire prediction of the imminent bursting of the ‘higher education bubble,’ and the ‘crisis’ in and future of higher education more generally.

It was written by author and commentator Nathan Harden (BA in Humanities, Yale, 2009), editor of The College Fix – Original. Student Reported. Your Daily Dose of Right-Minded Campus News.

For just one recent counterpoint in this burgeoning debate, see For Whom Is College Being Reinvented? (‘Disruptions’ have the buzz but may put higher education out of reach for those students likely to benefit the most), by Scott Carlsen & Goldie Blumenstyk in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec 17, 2012.

Depending on what the case may be, what are the implications for higher education in general and for honors education in particular? The debate – and the future – is open.

If you would like to further discuss this and related issues in a broader context, please join us for the inaugural session of the Honors Salon, our brand new discussion group, on Tuesday, Feb 5, 7-8pm: Is Google Making Generation F Stupid, Smarter or Neither?

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