The Campus Tsunami!

Dear Commons Community,

I am just back from giving a talk to colleagues at Lehman College on blended learning and what do I see in the New York Times but a column by David Brooks on online learning in higher education entitled The Campus Tsunami.  Essentially Brooks echoes President John Hennessy of Stanford who summed up the emerging view in an article by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker, “There’s a tsunami coming.”  What happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education: a rescrambling around the Web.

Brooks comments and asks questions:

“Many of us view the coming change with trepidation. Will online learning diminish the face-to-face community that is the heart of the college experience? Will it elevate functional courses in business and marginalize subjects that are harder to digest in an online format, like philosophy? Will fast online browsing replace deep reading?

If a few star professors can lecture to millions, what happens to the rest of the faculty? Will academic standards be as rigorous? What happens to the students who don’t have enough intrinsic motivation to stay glued to their laptop hour after hour? How much communication is lost — gesture, mood, eye contact — when you are not actually in a room with a passionate teacher and students?”

His conclusion:

“it will be easier to be a terrible university on the wide-open Web, but it will also be possible for the most committed schools and students to be better than ever.”

A must read for those interested in online education!!


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