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Death of the UK University – not a moment too soon

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:

  1. modern lecturers are merely “talking textbooks”
  2. we act as if a non-teaching degree miraculously makes you “a brilliant teacher”
  3. 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…

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