I have been wondering about this very thing. Christian Schneider of the College Fix is on to something here:

How COVID-19 may be the needle that completely pops the higher education bubble

To promote social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across America have sent students home and are conducting classes remotely, via online video.

According to one count, nearly 99 percent of all American law schools have moved online to protect students against the coronavirus. One would be hard-pressed to find a college or university that has not done the same.

Of course, “distance learning” is nothing new. According to data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, 34.7 percent of all American college students took at least one online class in fall of 2018, up from 33.1 percent the year before. Nearly 40 percent of graduate students currently take at least some of their classes online.

But when large universities shift their course offerings online during a global pandemic, it might get students wondering – why would they continue to pay exorbitant fees for dorms, meal plans, and parking, when they can get the same instruction sitting at home in front of their computers?

Once a large university proves it can provide a reasonable facsimile of its course offerings without the enormous expense, students may start to demand they do so…

But the subtext is very different — no doubt some academics are concerned that if professors did a good job of promoting online education, it could make many other academic jobs obsolete.

University faculty members promoting online education would be akin to McDonald’s employees singing the wonders of automated ordering machines that will eventually cost them all their jobs.


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