Salon writer Andrew Leonard gives an interesting overview of the state of new and emerging online education choices and their potential impact on higher education. Leonard asserts that this impact is already being felt and will continue to accelerate, “The kids who are cutting their teeth on Khan Academy videos for help with their chemistry and calculus homework will grow up correctly assuming that there will always be low-cost or free educational opportunities available to them online in virtually any field of inquiry. They will naturally migrate to the best stuff and be less and less willing to pay for crap. This will cause a lot of trauma for the educational establishment, but that’s not the problem of the next generation that wants to learn.” Leonard goes on to wonder how we will determine program quality and ponders the implications for educators who may end up replaceable by cheaper options. He think that we should view this movement with a critical eye, but is hopeful that this will change the education landscape for those with less access. He concludes, “But what’s absolutely clear is that a vast number of people can’t afford a good education, and many of those who are paying through the nose aren’t getting a good education, and that kind of situation provides a clear opportunity for the Internet to do what it does best: spread knowledge at low cost.”
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