The Traditional University Lecture Is Dead

Selena Larson:

Why pay thousands of dollars to sit in a stuffy university lecture hall as a professor drones away in front of bored students when you could instead take some of the world’s greatest courses online? For free?
A handful of startups and university-backed nonprofits are starting to deliver on that proposition–one that could upend higher education, not to mention the plans of millions of students who are aiming to position themselves for employment in today’s digital economy. Of course, the trend is still in its infancy, with big challenges ahead where student retention, university cooperation and business models are concerned.
But proponents of the online-education revolution aren’t shy about their ambitions. Sebastian Thrun, a former Stanford professor who co-founded the startup Udacity two years ago, reportedly believes that in 50 years, there will only be 10 institutions in the world providing higher education–with Udacity, of course, potentially one of them.