Adrian just wrote an excellent article for the Telegraph, on the role of physical Universities, and the extent to which they’re rapidly becoming irrelevant, eclipsed by low-fi educational resource on the internet.
QFT, a few hilights that fit *entirely* with my own experiences, both as an undergraduate, and as a tutor for undergraduates:
- modern lecturers are merely “talking textbooks”
- we act as if a non-teaching degree miraculously makes you “a brilliant teacher”
- most universities only give each student a few hours a week of face-time
and, personally … although I have a Computer Science degree from Cambridge University, and although the syllabus was great, and the faculty highly skilled, I credit a lot of my degree to:
the University of Hawaii
…because their lecture slides were of a universally higher quality than the sum total of Cambridge University’s slides+lecturer+tutors.
That’s shameful, on Cambridge’s part, but it also underlines Adrian’s points: I graduated almost ten years ago, and the writing was already on the wall.
Disruption is already here
The beautiful (terrifying) thing about disruptive businesses is that – for the incumbents – they are invisible and seemingly irrelevant until it’s too late. And then, suddenly, the disguise is thrown off, and the incumbents are put out of business in a matter of months.
Universities that had coasted for decades (or centuries) on a patherically weak teaching structure are now facing real disruptive business, including competitors that don’t even *need* revenue. Nowadays, I think many Universities are soon to find they’re already too late to turn around their own laziness and buck-passing. The (hidden) revolution has already begun…