Professor: Universities Will be Irrelevant by 2020

Written by on April 22, 2009 in News and Views - 4 Comments

090416 Harvard (11)
Brigham Young University  professor David Wiley recently predicted that traditional universities will be irrelevant in the next decade.

Deseret News reports:

“Wiley is one part Nostradamus and nine parts revolutionary, an educational evangelist who preaches about a world where students listen to lectures on iPods, and those lectures are also available online to everyone anywhere for free. Course materials are shared between universities, science labs are virtual, and digital textbooks are free…

Higher education doesn’t reflect the life that students are living, he says. In that life, information is available on demand, files are shared, and the world is mobile and connected. Today’s colleges, on the other hand, are typically ‘tethered, isolated, generic, and closed,’ he says.”download Sherlock: The Final Problem movie

Wiley certainly seems to be on the right track here. In recent years, knowledge has become more free flowing, less amenable to controls. While a $100 textbook may have seemed like an acceptable choice in the past, today most students can get access to the same information by searching the internet or reading OpenCourseWare material from other colleges.watch full movie The Edge of Seventeen 2016

Universities in some form will probably always exist. But, the way they relate to students, the material they choose to use, and the control they place on the flow of information (i.e. closed classes, mandatory teacher-written textbooks) are likely to change dramatically over the coming years.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Justin Brockie

See Also: University of the People

4 Comments on "Professor: Universities Will be Irrelevant by 2020"

  1. Kristin April 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm · Reply

    You mean colleges and universities aren’t already irrelevant? Hee, hee.

  2. savant April 29, 2009 at 4:31 am · Reply

    You got that right Kristin, they’ve been irrelevant years now, I thought I was the only one seeing that lol. But like always those who profit from the traditional system will always find reason to say it’s not so.

    It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~Albert Einstein

  3. Arp May 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm · Reply

    If they weren’t irrelevant already, they definitely aren’t worth tens of thousands in debt. Here’s hoping that more and more people educate themselves.

  4. Anon June 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm · Reply

    Universities have a lot still going for them:

    1.) libraries
    More books than you can find online (so far)
    Also many are beautiful and inspiring places to study.

    2.) social life/housing
    gathering people in one place, creating better opportunities to make friends

    3.) Groups of like-minded people doing research together
    This could also be split off into separate research institutes, but then
    it would separate researchers from teachers.

    4.) Science labs for students
    Not all can be done online or at home

    5.) Various resources for students
    Tutoring, sports, job recruitment, advising, language labs, medical clinics, etc.

    On the other hand, now that lectures, course materials, and many books are online and people seem to learn better from them, this will free up Universities to be able to give more personal attention to students.

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