The Future of Higher Education

From Marginal Revolution:

 Online Education and the Market for Superstar Teachers

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31 Responses to “The Future of Higher Education”


  1. 1 Nubia Cazares December 9, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    This article was very interesting. I can definitely see how online colleges can be so profitable, they target a different audience, an audience that does not have time to actually go to a campus and take classes but rather takes them in their own time. In addition it broadens enrollment, through online colleges students from all around the world can enroll in any university they would want. Although there are many economical benefits, I still believe that traditional on campus education is ten times more beneficial for the student. At least in my personal experience I do much better in a class where I am able to see the professor and ask questions. I guess it just depends on what a person perfers, but I guess time will only tell what lies in store for higher education.

  2. 2 Jennifer Tarbell December 9, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    To be quite honest, online education doesnt work as well as in class education. of corse its faster, easier and profitable by a large margin when you think about few the resources it takes. some may say its the new version of textbook to teacher as online to TA. but in reality its doing what our country does best, maximizing profit but minimizing product.

  3. 3 Kirstie Scott December 9, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    I agree with Jennifer, online teaching cannot supplement what students learn in the classroom. The classroom is where students build and learn valuable lessons. Without that they would lose out on a lot of things like building communication skills.

  4. 4 Ben Petersen December 10, 2009 at 8:24 AM

    Online classes seem less time-comsuming, as I am taking one right now. They make it so that you can save time by not having to drive all the way out to campus everyday. But you have to look at the negatives to this. No one is making you show up to class at a certain time, or requiring you to pay attention to a lectures in class. Sure, I agree that it is much easier, but I have found that I learn more showing up to class and being taught the material first-hand. This of course will be different from person to person, but I believe many would agree. I am not a fan of the transition, but see it as inevitable.

  5. 5 Melissa Alexander December 10, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    Online education is ideal for the older generation, such as myself, who want to finish school and better their education. However, I am a 34 year old woman with 4 children, a husband and a business to help run…and I have no time to go to class anymore…I find it a lot easier to attend class online when I have the time. I still believe that an on-campus education is a better way for an education for our younger generation and my children. We definately learn better through experience. But as I mentioned earlier, it is so much easier for me to do the on-line classes. Harder for sure, but easier than trying to find and extra couple of hours in my already hectic day. And I think that there are so many people in the same kind of situation that I am in and on-line is better for them as well and that is why I think the on-line education is doing so well.

  6. 6 Alexander Perez December 10, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Half of my education workload, for the last few semesters, has been online education. I find it convenient because I work full time. I do have to say though that I find it to be more beneficial doing the on-campus classes. I understand the material better and you have students around who might have the same problems about the class as you do. I have been weary of going to a for-profit school like university of phoenix because of prestige. Unless generally accepted measurements for learning in traditional higher education establishments is adopted, prestige is the only thing we will be purchasing not quality education.

  7. 7 Broderick Nickelberry Jr. December 11, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    I don’t believe online classes are as good as regular classes. This is because online classes make you learn mostly by your self and reading the book not really any help if you wanted to ask questions to understand better. I think its easier when you are learning from a teacher giving a lecturer on every chapter you need to know and in a class where you can ask questions if you don’t understand something. I believe these classes are only good if you have a full time job or can’t go into school for some reason. However, some classes only come in online and hybrid type classes which are hard for me.

  8. 8 Taylor Smith December 11, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    I do not feel that online classes carry the same value as in class classes. I have taken many online courses and passed with great grades and test scores, but the information i gained from it was little and most i do not even understand or remember the complete concept. it is hard to get questions answered when needed and if they go unanswered it makes it hard to keep going. On the other hand it does force students to really think and figure things out for them self instead of having the teacher just tell them or copy a friend.

  9. 9 Heinrick Devera December 11, 2009 at 6:55 PM

    I think that online education has its ups and downs. Personally I learn a lot better in the classroom because you get the interaction with the teacher and other students. But online classes can really be helpful to the people who don’t have the time to show up to class. Either way, people can learn in front of the computer or in a classroom which means education is profitable online or off. We just have to consider the new technology and the way people use them in education. The future can have a combination of classroom and online learning.

  10. 10 Anthony Azevedo December 13, 2009 at 2:23 PM

    I would never do it but my concern with online education, is you never know who is taking the class. You just give your user name and password out to smart person or your parents and they can do all work for you, and you can get blitz, party all day and night. In order for it to work, the teacher must have access to student web cam or something. Or the class would have to met for the final. Combination of classroom and online learning is the only way I can see it work.

  11. 11 Tiffany Molinar December 14, 2009 at 12:02 AM

    I agree with a lot of the comments. I agree that I have a harder time with online education. I’m definitely a hands-on person and I learn better in the classroom, but I think online education reaches out to people who just don’t have the time to attend college. I’m a new mom, and I want to spend as much time with my daughter as possible. Also I’ve dealt with things with my family and I haven’t had to miss cass because of my online classes, but it’s still a lot more difficult keeping myself disciplined to get my work done on time and to the best of my ability.

  12. 12 Hayden Scott December 14, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    I agree with the comments. I find that there is a danger that online education is a way to cut administrative costs, allowing teachers to distance themselves from their actual purpose, guiding students to a better understanding of the knowledge in textbooks. Speaking of textbooks, online education such as Aplia seems like an interesting underhanded way to get institutional approval to gut the market for reselling used textbooks. Being an avid videogamer I see this battle there as well and those companies would LOVE a way to completely remove rental and used game store competition. I also want to make it clear that personally I find lectures invaluable and the reduced cost associated with an online course does not outweigh this benefit. Although I do acknowledge that online education can be useful for returning students and parents where the alternatives are just unfeasible due to their tight schedules.

  13. 13 Larry Oppenheimer December 14, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    Everyone is in agreement here: online classes offer greater convenience, but in-class learning offers more opportunity for direct interaction with teachers. Certainly, there are those capable of self-teaching, which is a strong element of online education, but most of us benefit from the superiority of face-to-face one-on-one interactions.

    A big question is what really matters here. If a student is simply taking a course to fulfill a requirement and get a grade, online can be a fine way of doing that. If, on the other hand, the student really wants to learn the material, such as when it is an area the student wishes to pursue professionally, then better quality education becomes the priority and an in-class scenario is more optimal.

  14. 14 Taylor Latt December 14, 2009 at 1:12 PM

    I believe it all has to do with learning style. If the people enrolling in these online colleges feel that it best suits their needs, and it is easier for them to learn material on their own, than by all means get an education. However, like the article mentioned, in the job market it is now all about where you went to school versus what degree you have. Im pretty sure (all other things equal) that if a grad from a UC and a grad from an online school applied for the same job, the UC student would get the position.

  15. 15 Fr,K December 14, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    Online education is not my style of learning. The direction and instant assistance that a professor can provide is what I need to actually LEARN and comprehend the material. In an online class i can flounder my way along and receive a good grade, but the material I covered was not fully understood, nor will it be retained passed the last date i need it. With a lecture I get to take notes, hear the professor lecture and state which points are the important ones, and have notes afterward to review and try to figure out to my hearts content. There are no lectures online, no teacher to bounce ideas off of, only my computer screen, keyboard and mouse.

  16. 16 Jordan Premo December 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Online classes are very convenient but they can be really difficult. For instance this econ class can get kind of confusing especially since the only resource I have is a book. I think I would have much rather taken this class in a real class setting. It would be cool if the instructor could put some lectures up to view. My online business class teacher has us view a lecture each week and I seem to have retained a lot more information that way.

  17. 17 Courtney Brewer December 16, 2009 at 5:00 PM

    Online education is convenient but difficult. When I enrolled for econ 100 i thought it would be a breeze, but now i know i am never going to enroll for an online class again! I know some people are very organized and efficient, but for those who do no carry those qualities(such as myself), online classes can be very hard to keep up with. Especially when you are taking other classes that are actually on campus, it can be easy to forget about keeping up to date with online work. However, I do believe that it is good that they are available for people who are very busy with work and that are motivated to keep themselves in check without having to attend classes. It can’t hurt to have them available.

  18. 18 Tiffany Molinar December 16, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    It seems like a lot of people have similar views about online education. I know when I’ve talked to my friends about the difficulties I’m having with my online class, they feel my pain. I sometimes feel like it’s easier for the teachers to give a lower grade also because they have never met their online students so they don’t really know what kind of person they are dealing with, so that is a downside to it for me. I now know what to expect from online classes so I plan on doing the least amount of online classes as possible.

  19. 19 Nathan Couch December 17, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    I only read a few of the comments but I feel that in-class promises more retention, makes the teacher feel more accessible and makes students more accountable for their time.

    Though this also has a lot to do with what kind of class it is compared with what your strengths and weaknesses are. Personally, I’ve taken a computer science course as an online class at Shasta College and it was perfect. I could do the assignments and get a good grade without spending a ton of time in a classroom going over whta I thought to be basics. Contrarily, I’m taking your Macroeconomics online and I feel like I would have retained a lot more information.

  20. 20 angela December 17, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    I find online classes harder than regular classes. That is because I don not have a chance to talk and discuss in class about an especific topic. I do like regular classes better, even though it requires more time for me to go to the campus for a lecture.

  21. 21 Joshua Lanuza December 24, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    I don’t agree with this article. Online education will give a student a harder and time consuming life. I’m not saying online education is completely bad, but that a teacher face-to-face will show a student how to do things by verbal and physical gestures. With a online class there is no motivation but that of your own.

  22. 22 Logan C Songer January 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    While the convenience of online classes offers many advantages for students, I feel it lacks the most important part of a students education. And that is the interaction with the Professor/Teacher (boss) and the other students (peerand co-workers). Just like Business is a nose to nose and toes to toes environment, Education should be a similar environment. I’m afraid with no personal interaction in the education environment, students are not getting everything they pay for. I think a combination of online and in-class learning would work great. With no interaction with a professor/teacher, are we really getting an education? Or are we just paying for a degree?

  23. 23 Berenice Lopez (101) February 1, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    I believe there are both positive and negative results from online classes. The positive thing is that it allows individuals with busy lifestlyes (full time job, etc.) to continue their education at their own convenience and pace. Of course, one may think that online classes are easier than in person classes because you do not have to phyiscally show up for class, but the reality is that they are actually harder. I am speaking from personal experience. Online classes are harder because if you are confused about something and need an answer, it can take days until you finally get a response from your teacher. You do not get as much out of the class as you would being in an actual classroom. The scary thing about this down economy, is that chances are online classes will keep increasing. It saves the schools more money.

  24. 24 Michelle Benton February 3, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    I agree that online classes might be similar to just “paying for a degree,” but in the same breath, I feel that is the route that most businesses are taking these days (teleconferencing, email, interactive websites and databases) so the more you are self successful at figuring out the online classes and learning to be self motivated also helps you succeed in the current job market. A good online teacher will be able to convey the teacher to student (employer to employee) relationship without having to see the person face to face. I personally enjoy knowing my teachers on a more personal level, but the convenience of online classes (especially “good” online classes) is priceless to me. Teachers with online teaching experience will definately have a better foot in the door than ones without.

  25. 25 Econ Consumer February 3, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    This article is interesting. It’s true with online classes you studier harder but you do retained what you have learner long after. I am currently taking 3 online classes. It can be a little crazy with disciplining yourself but I motivate myself. I was a little afraid of registrating for online classes. Now I find myself enjoying them more because I have a busy family life. Online classes provide flexibility to take classes at your convenience. Many classes at the college are hybrid classes in which you go to class for lecture but your homework and tests are online. This is the way of future education.

  26. 26 Tyler Oga February 4, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    There definitely some pros and some cons when it comes to online education. One of the major pros is that it is very convenient. Students are not on a strict schedule where they have to be at certain classes at certain times. Online classes would be much easier for someone who is working that may not have time during the day to go to class.
    On the other hand, online classes may not have the same welcoming learning environment like a regular lecture with a professor would be. For me personally, I find it much easier to learn when I am being taught by a person, and not a computer screen filled with text. In my Microeconomics class, my professor compared last week’s quiz scores of those who are taking the hybrid course versus those who are taking the online course. He said that the average for the hybrid class was 92%, and the average for the online course was only 74%. That is really saying something, in my opinion

  27. 27 Amanda Chow March 16, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I think the learning process is determined by the individual student. For some students can work very well with online supplements, but other students need that teacher-student interaction. The online classes are very convenient for busy students especially if they are trying to balance other classes, a job, and other obligations. But I believe some classes are just not meant to be done online because certain material must be dealt with physically.

  28. 28 Melissa Moylan May 6, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    I think online education is great for some courses, but a majority of college classes are better in a class room environment. In class students are able to ask questions and get a response immediately instead of emailing back and forth. On the other hand, by having online courses students are able to do the course work anytime instead of having to be in class at a certain time.

  29. 29 Kelsey Zeller May 17, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    I think that both online classes and inclass classes are good. All students learn different. Getting rid of the inclass classes could really lower test scores. Online classes are good for people who need to make their own hours for school. Inclass classes are good for those who need one on one attention and need to ask questions. It all has to do with the student.

  30. 30 Kyle Barraclough May 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Although I find online classes to be harder they are more convenient when you do not have a specific time where you have to be there. It is more difficult because you have no interaction with other students or your teachers but the opportunity to complete the courses as fast as you want provides the chance for student to finish school faster and get out in the work force faster.

  31. 31 Stephanie Boyle May 18, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    It is debatable whether or not text books and an online course can teach as much as a professor. Some people learn differently and therefore any method could be argued for. I think online education is a good idea for those who have passed their college years and now need another chance for education, people with children and people with full time jobs. I think a college experience is best and most helpful to teens and those just out of high school, it is a necessary adjustment from high school to the real world. College encourages job placement and independence, but professors are always just around the corner in case you need a helping hand. I think that online college is a good thing, but I do not think that it is our future.


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