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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The High Cost of Higher Learning

Saw this in an email ad for iTunes: "Open Yale courses provide free open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished professors and scholars at Yale University.  New and updated courses are now available on iTunes U. including Financial Markets and Early Middle Ages".

This reminded me of something I have been thinking for a while and is, I believe, related to a subject that in the news currently.  I have no personal knowledge of the extent to which our institutes of higher learning are incorporating internet and other newer technologies but, as in my profession and just about all others, I could certainly understand if it were not enthusiastically embraced by the world of academia.  It is, as in the world in general, a real game changer and that can cause some extreme anxiety. 

I believe that the internet has the potential to save literally tons of money for businesses in general.  I have whole heartedly embraced it and am very happy I have.  But, it means I don't need a secretary (job lost).  I don't need as much professional help (jobs lost).  Heck, I don't even need an office (empty office space).  The savings are substantial to me and I haven't raised the stated rates I charge in almost ten years (happy customers :-)). 

Can colleges and universities get similar cost savings benefits through the embracing of technological alternatives, and if so, have they, or are they in the process of aggressively doing so?  I know, an institute of higher learning is not a CPA firm, and other than reading Wayne's book recently, which I found to be a real page turner by the way, I haven't thought much about how the world of academia operates and spends its money.  But I would imagine there is an entrenched thinking that we "shouldn't fix what's not broke".  After all, as I note parenthetically in my example, there is, at least in the short run, and perhaps even in the long run, some downside to the economy as a whole in terms of lost jobs and underutilized office space.  But if there are substantial savings to be had without sacrificing the quality of our higher education the savings would, I would think, be a net upside for our economy in the long run.

Are there any posters here that can speak more knowledgably on the subject as it relates to our colleges and universities?  Anyone?  Anyone?

1 comment:

  1. We should get Honoria to speak to that.

    PS Thanks for the plug. I expect an immediate surge of sales.