Now you can sleep through lectures in the comfort of your own home.
Oct 29, 2007, Vol. 13, No. 07 • By ANDY KESSLER
In other words, this would be a great job if it weren't for the students. Research, a team of graduate students as underpaid serfs, papers in academic journals, a few talks at esoteric conferences--these are the paths to success in the academic world. Oh, and some well-paid consulting gigs on the side. Creating a video catalog of lectures and putting them up online--it's a brilliant move, don't you see? That way, pretty soon, you won't even have to show up Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 P.M. at Olin Hall Lecture Room 102. Just set up a projector and play the video. Better yet, just have the kids download it into their iPods. Update the lecture every decade or so whether you need to or not. This is the new face of higher education--tenured professors doing research who don't have to bother teaching courses ever again. And with email to replace office hours, you won't need any kind of personal contact at all with undergrads.
Think of the possibilities. There are physical limitations on how many kids can fit on campuses today. Arizona State is up to 50,000 undergrads while Harvard is stuck at 6,700. But digital real estate is infinite. Watch our courses at home. Take a sophomore year equivalency test and get 34 percent off your tuition at Amazon: For the low, low price of $30,000, you can tell friends--and employers--that you graduated from a small school in Cambridge. Brilliant. And it would work too, except for one thing. Parents have plans for that soon-to-be spare bedroom. Oh well, nice try.
Andy Kessler's most recent book is The End of Medicine: How Silicon Valley (and Naked Mice) Will Reboot Your Doctor.