In commentary “The Value of College” by NY Times Columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins, Brooks suggest online lectures could bring down tuition (here):
…. David: Let me go into a bit more detail about why I think college costs may be about to come down big time. Let me start with a question. Would you rather see your local community theater put on some production by your local playwright or would you rather go to the movies and watch Laurence Olivier perform Shakespeare?
Gail: I think I know what’s coming here, and I am not really trying to defer you by saying that if the play was half-good, I would totally opt for the neighborhood writer.
David: Right now college is like community theater. It’s local. It’s in person. Its quality depends on the personalities of the people you have in your town. I suspect many people would prefer the Olivier/Shakespeare at the movies option. It’s not local. It’s not in person. But you get something from the best of the best.
In other words, I am beginning to think this talk of online learning is real, at least in some quarters of higher ed. The big lecture courses are distance learning anyway, so students might as well sit in their dorm rooms and take an online course from an academic superstar rather than some local adjunct. That would cut costs enormously. Local faculty members could then be used for discussion sections and tutoring.
Tuition could come down apace. ….