I already wrote you various times about online courses. I do believe this is the ultimate phase of the renaissance, started in Europe (thanks to the Arab library’s and some Italian gamblers) and currently enlightning the entire world.
Keeping knowledgee within a small group of privileged people has proven to have horrendous effects and is a clear waste of potential. The unleashing of restrictions around knowledge is the most important driver for wealth, wellbeing and collective achievement.
Currently cost of education are high, to private individuals and to governments. I believe online courses are the beginning of serious potential to lower costs per student for governments and students.
How? Think about this…if the best classes and professors are freely available there’s no reason anymore to have so many universities. If I’d be a student I would ask my university to provide access to the best in a certain field of knowledge. If I would be a government I would ask the subisidised universities to rigorously cut teachings and link all students to the one top professor there is in finance, economics, biology. If I would be a company I would tell my people to follow online courses for personal development and if I would be a corporate I would cut reimbursement of MBA courses.
I believe knowledge and teaching in the future will be following the pareto law: 1% of the universities will teach 99% of the students or 1% of the universities and speciliazation will be the key driver for survival of universities. To use Taleb’s classification: eduction will become a clear case of extremistan.
Ín some time from now, initiatives like coursera will take a more formal role in university level education, youtube will take over from television etc. I spend more time on blogs and youtube than I watch television. My kid brothers don’t even bother to have a television. Knowledge is starting to be freely available. You just have to choose what you want to know more about. I love it.
Enjoy the best teachers from your relaxing chair, I’ve watched Robert Shiller behavioral finance classes: http://www.academicearth.org/subjects/finance