MyNotes - Online education disrupting traditional academic models
- Online education disrupting traditional academic models
- By Kabir Chibber
- The centre of academic life at most universities is the library. The rows and rows of dusty, hastily-mended bound books and journals hint at a vast world of knowledge and draw a link between generations of students who have roamed the halls. But students in the engineering department at the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA) do not get that experience. Instead, they download whatever they want to any one of the terminals or their laptops.
- The sleek glass library seats 80 people and holds 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions. And there is no need to share because all these budding engineers can read the same text at the same time.
- Higher education across the world is undergoing a seismic technological shift, which is changing the conventional thinking on what constitutes getting a degree.
- The problem for the academic publishers is, of course, that they cannot charge the same price for e-books as for physical books.
- Digital books can also be shared and copied. Instead of 30 books for 30 students, the publishers are facing a drop in sales to one - or none.
- In the US, Arizona is the heart of the online education industry. The University of Phoenix is the largest private university in North America, with 470,800 students enrolled, and a huge chunk of that is through its extensive online degree programme. Many such for-profit private universities have been criticised for accepting anyone and for lacking quality standards, but this education sector continues to grow.