According to Teachout (2009), there will be an immense increase in the number of online colleges and universities which will give traditional colleges a run for their money. In the article, Teachout bases their argument on the basis of the inevitability of the triumph of online colleges over traditional college. The article focuses on benefits that accrue from online courses that include lower tuition, flexibility of schedule, and access to an abundance of web resources as well as reduction in challenges on of on-site teaching.
While making the argument on online classes, there are two things that are a given. First, the cost of education online versus the cost of being in a college dormitory thousands of miles away from home skews the ledger to the online side. In page 92, Teachout points out that numerous surveys have pointed out those colleges online are cheap compared to the traditional colleges making access to college education feasible for many families in the United States. Take the example of single mothers who would like to improve their lifestyles by getting a college degree. Online education makes that possible.
Second, online colleges give the students who had hitherto denied a college opportunity the luxury of college education. This is perhaps the biggest advantage that online colleges have over traditional colleges. Still, when all is said and done, the biggest question that still remains unanswered is whether online colleges will kill traditional colleges. My answer to this question would be an affirmative no.
While the article brings out some interesting arguments on the future of colleges and the experience of adults in online schools, it leaves out the supremacy of a college experience on the lives of 18-22 year olds. College is formative period, and the formation of an adult character is only experienced onsite. This primary role of college education cannot be replaced with online classes. It would premature to say that a person with a degree completed done through the computer would have the same experience to that person who has gone to school. The feel is different.
The second argument would be on quality. How do we monitor online classes? How do we ensure that the instructors are monitored and tenured? Still, would employers take someone with an online degree as similar to one who had undergone a four year degree on a traditional college as equals? In conclusion, while the article “Will the Web Kill Colleges” raises interesting arguments on the future of education in a highly digitalized world, it still leaves a lot of room for debate. My conclusion would be that while the future of education will be shaped by online tools and classes, I do not think that it will completely wipe out the sanctity of a college feeling.
Chaffee, J. (2012). Thinking critically (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth-Cengage Learning.Marrero, M. E., Woodruff, K. A., Schuster, G. S., & Riccio, J. F. (2010). Live, online short-courses: A case study of innovative teacher professional development. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 11(1), 8195.