Will the Internet put universities out of business?

By learninmypc
May 17, 2013
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  1. SEATTLE —
    More than half of recent college graduates in Washington state enter the stiff job market more than $20,000 in debt. But now, many universities are launching online courses, some even for free.
    Starting this fall, the University of Washington in Seattle will offer a degree in early childhood education and family studies, completely online. When the announcement was made, the UW touted its “low cost” of $7,000 a year.http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/will-internet-put-universities-out-business/nXt9n/
  2. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    Those courses are free because they are subsidised by paying students. There will always be a cost, somewhere.
  3. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,585   +187

    Thanks for your input. :)
  4. TheDreams

    TheDreams TechSpot Booster Posts: 425   +32

    I think that there will always be the want for the college/university experience, to lots of students college is the first step of freedom, they get to go to parties, and also in most cases(not always) it is the first time you get to spend months at a time away from your parent/legal guardian. It is a growing experience to become yourself. Some people also thrive more with face to face interaction and it is hard to achieve that online.
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,042   +224

    Some curriculum lend themselves to online syllabus while others just do not - - eg classes with lab requirements or graduate work where group participation is emphasized.

    Social enter action aside, not all students are adept at being self-starters and need the classroom interaction. Think of "home schooling" and making more than just G.E.D. level of achievement.
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  6. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,585   +187

    Thank you both for your input. (y) :)
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,098   +1,189

    Internet courses will never have the clarity of a university. Internet courses do not have anyone you can talk to for better understanding.

    Universities have a way of setting a students momentum. Without this momentum, chances are high that the student will simply stop. The need and desire to be motivated will always be a factor. There is no momentum and very little motivation in Internet studies.
  8. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,585   +187

    A question I have just popped up. Would it be easier for one to cheat by borrowing a classmates answers or by googling it online if you were attending it online?
  9. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    I agree. That plus the fact that there is nothing like face-to-face interaction to enhance the experience of learning, as mentioned by TheDreams.

    But I do give credit to those universities that offer free online courses. I bet that if one had a natural aptitude for it, one could learn a lot from MIT's OpenCourseWare offerings, for instance.

    I've wondered about that, too. I wonder if they don't ask you to install some kind of tracking software for degree or certificate programs. I can't be sure, but I understand the UN has prorietary software to track the activities of remote employees during work hours. Would it be too far-fetched to think that maybe universities that offer online certificate programs do the same?
    learninmypc likes this.
  10. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,585   +187

    Well, right now, I'm just looking forward to my daily lessons here at TechSpot.
    I can honestly say I've learned more here than in the previous forums I've been to.
    The attitude here also makes this forum 100% better. Keep up the great job you guys & gals.:)
  11. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    There was a thread on TS earlier about someone who performed an exam on their personal laptop. The use of a lockdown program was required.

    Either way, if you wanna cheat, you can cheat via remote or face-to-face education.
  12. ReederOnTheRun

    ReederOnTheRun TechSpot Booster Posts: 310   +62


    Absolutely. Even if there was some kind of lockdown or tracking program, you could always use a different computer. Never underestimate a lazy student's ingenuity when it comes to cheating :p

    Although, they could just use online classes to teach, then host a final exam in person at the end of the semester to determine the students' grades. This is prevalent in Europe, except they have regular lectures also. It would be important not to use the homework for credit though, only for the students' personal benefits. That would make them start collaborating to learn it instead of cheating to get a good grade.
  13. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,585   +187

    The more I read the replies in this thread, the more I'd prefer reading thru the threads in TS knowing they're most likely better answers coming from more knowledgeable members.
    Whereas if I was in class, I don't think I could trust the class genius.
    Thanks for everybodies input. Keep it up.(y)
     
  14. TheDreams

    TheDreams TechSpot Booster Posts: 425   +32

    Yes you could simply have another computer right next to the one your using and search the answers on that one and simply transfer them over. When there is classwork that is supposed to be done on high school students own time, there is no way to stop cheating.
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 877   +293

    This depends on the quality of the program. I can't speak for non-accredited online courses, but paid classes from accredited colleges and universities only lack the social aspect of campus enrollment. Professors and support staff (tutors, etc.) are all available via phone, Skype, and Blackboard. Moreover, classes are structured to ensure students are properly learning the material.

    I also disagree with the statement that online studies won't motivate a student. Although I would certainly agree this may be the case for free courses with no deadlines, if $7,000+ per semester and a real GPA doesn't motivate a student to succeed in an online environment, being on campus is unlikely to be much different. The difference is that an online environment requires a different study skill set. You need to be highly self-motivated and know how to study effectively (time management). If you can't do these things without someone holding your hand, you'll have a tough time.

    In theory, yes. However, most (if not all) professors I've had in my online courses are very savvy when it comes to preventing Google from taking exams for people. Major tests, assignments, and so forth are generally not structured in a way to be friendly to cheating. Typically, highly weighted assignments and exams involve novel situations (unique legal scenarios, for instance) or comprehensive analysis that cannot simply be Googled, "peeked" from your textbook, or traded. If you were to try and fudge your answers, you wouldn't make it halfway through the test before time expired.

    Getting back to the original question, I doubt that online education will put traditional colleges and universities out of business. Rather, it will become another aspect of higher education as institutions start shifting to online platforms to reach more students and make more money.

    The real question is whether or not the degree programs being offered will continue to be worth the cost of admission in the coming 20 years, and, as a result, whether the cost-effectiveness of accredited online programs will be a boon for students. People seem to allude to the fact that supply and demand is stacked firmly against students. 20-30 years ago undergraduate degrees were well worth the time and effort because their economic utility was high and the cost of going to school low. Since the market is now flooded with degree holders and seekers, that equation has changed: tuition is skyrocketing and the utility of undergraduate (and soon graduate) degrees are, on average, either stagnant or declining (depending on the degree). Globalization is only compounding the issue. If you aren't an engineer or a highly skilled financial specialist, higher education is going to be a distant second to real-world experience in the future.
  16. AnonymousSurfer

    AnonymousSurfer TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 295

    The internet won't be able to replace colleges because as nice as it is to save all that money, people are still going to go to college for the experience. I think that the internet will have more of an effect with driving the price down as more people go to it for information.
  17. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    I work as IT in the university sector, so if you have any particular questions I may have some insider... insight..

    There's a new phrase being thrown around called MOOC, which is like the MMO equivalent of education. Basically, universities ovver up their course material and allow 'students' to complete modules from various education providers, which can then compile into the degree they want.

    More on-topic: free education is also good for people working, or general people who have an interest in the study material.. however they are in no position to actually go through the testing and certification part of it to obtain the degree.
  18. abecedarian

    abecedarian Newcomer, in training Posts: 24

    Not only will many people want the college experience, but for high-level college, people are also aware of the potential later value of the connections you make at school.
  19. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,086   +154

    Just use 2 laptops...

    I know a lecturer who did a video conf for a full fee paying student who missed the exam. The student was asked basic questions from the course (course-related terminology etc). No hiding there but obviously not too practical for a large amount of students but you certainly can see where the students really are at.
  20. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,086   +154

    Also the value of degrees from certain universities - reputation of the uni etc. If you have a doctorate from Toilet Tech Online University and aced the course, it doesn't sound as good as a mid range from Harvard now does it?
  21. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 294   +81

    University overall is so much more than just a course and taking in info. When I did my degree we were encouraged to hang out in the department and talk with other students going for bachelor, masters or doctorates, the profs would join in sometimes. You can make connections, end up helping in someone's research. The facilities on campus other than just classrooms or computer labs. A University library is huge and has access that you can't touch from home. It's just so much more in every way. The most intellectually stimulating years of my life so far, if you are up for it, and can handle the time and money it will take I would highly recommend even if you are taking something that is not immediate 100% job training.
  22. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,585   +187



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