Not a unique story, but still instructive, in how change brings about strange bedfellows and unanticipated alliances, where big players end up doing things that seemed incomprehensible in the “before” snapshot, but inevitable in the “after”snapshot.
Big players in education may be “caught” in the same dynamic of trying to keep up with change where they become involved in supporting change agents that undercut their present “lords of the status quo” position.
Watching higher education offer their courses online for free strikes one as the same counterintuitive project as TV offering their wares online as streaming service. Las Cruces Public Schools trying to do online courses through virtual academy seems to offer parallel insights. The new model inherently destabilizes the old model, but they “have to do it” anyway.
Status quo powers struggle to reassert their status in times of change, and sometimes find a way to survive and rule and to climb back on top when the dust settles. In the world of telecom ISP, it sometimes seems as if Ma Bell, and Baby Bells will be able to re-establish monopolies of infrastructure access, for example.
What is the longterm future of online learning and education? Can we see that future, today? One assumption is that it’s not possible to put such a large and growing genie back in the bottle. This Hulu story points out the future of Hulu is in doubt, but the advent of streaming TV can’t be put back in the bottle, either.
Perhaps same for distribution of learning, education, certification, and workforce training online…it’s too diverse for any entity to maintain or re-assert control. Past the point of “no return”. At least change agents such as ourselves have reason to hope that there’s a new relationship between learning consumers and learning providers that we can enter into, and promote.
gary575 on 12 Oct 12
The technology will endure, the question of ownership and application is open – and most importantly, so is the timeline.
With the pace of adoption in other countries, there is a strong argument that America’s educational edge has been lost forever.
There have been a number of articles written of late that suggest that free-market “democracy” is great for spurring innovation, but inferior to more state-oriented societies in makig the innovation available (at an affordable price) to the populace.