My son Ben asked if had this seen this article. It really feels like the beginning of the end:
Arizona State University, one of the nation’s largest universities, is joining with edX, a nonprofit online venture founded by M.I.T. and Harvard, to offer an online freshman year that will be available worldwide with no admissions process and full university credit. . . .Yes, step right up.
“Leave your G.P.A., your SATs, your recommendations at home,” said Anant Agarwal, the chief executive of edX. “If you have the will to learn, just bring your Internet connection and yourself, and you can get a year of college credit.”
I am forever loyal to the idea of college — that is, real college, what college can be and still, often, is. But we seem to be moving toward a future in which that possibility becomes, once again, reserved for a privileged few. For everyone else, an Internet connection will suffice. No classmates, no office hours, no libraries. It’s telling that even Mr. Agarwal’s hucksterism acknowledges reality: this scheme offers not a year of college but “a year of college credit.” They’re not the same thing.
May 3: Oh — and there’s no financial aid.
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[Title courtesy of Tom Waits.]