Online Higher Ed Classes: A Threat to Brick-and-Mortar Colleges?
There will be more online classes for college students to choose from this fall, thanks to a Silicon Valley startup. Twelve more major research universities, including UCSF, are joining up with the company Coursera to provide free online classes. The company is one of a growing number of online programs aimed at bringing higher education to more people via the Internet.
Despite the industry's expansion, Jeff Young, a senior editor with the Chronicle for Higher Education, doesn't expect online classes will supplant brick-and-mortar universities.
"It may instead create a kind of a “tiered system” where this creates a different kind of education for students that would never have gone to these kinds of institutions in the past," says Young, "and now it’s a new way to get something that they can maybe use to get some sort of advancement in their life."
Young says it's not clear at this point what, if any, impact online education might have on the skyrocketing tuition costs of four-year colleges.