A Brigham Young professor is the latest to get press by pushing the idea that the old college model is broken and the lecture hall will disappear by 2020. Perhaps. Elaine Jarvik from the Deseret News writes up his ideas here and Slashdot hosted a discussion here. The typical debate revolved around questions like where will young people find dates, how will students get interaction with their teachers, and why didn’t this happen back when the book made lectures obsolete. All are good questions and I don’t have answers. Maybe people just like to hang out in stuffy halls and listen to a sage on the stage? Maybe they like a safe place to get away from their home that offers some challenges but not all of the grief of real life? That may be why traditional colleges continue.
But these non-traditional solutions have a real possibility to cut the costs. Free video of lectures get rid of the need to charge for someone’s talking. So that leaves only the Socratic dialogs and the tests. If the costs of these can be brought down, well, then we’ve got a real solution.