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School Of Hard Clicks: Will Web Video Take Over Higher Education?

ben-stein-ferris-buellerHoward Lindzon thinks it might. Over on his blog, Lindzon, who does have some investments in online educational video startups, waxes poetic about how the scalability of web video will give rise to Kobe Bryant-like teaching superstars, give students better educations, and maybe force a few thousand “mid-level hacks” out of their jobs in the process.From howardlindzon.com:

Does it make any sense for 5,000 teachers around the country to teach the same college algebra or macroeconomics course every semester? Of course not. Obviously, if you could take a class from Greg Mankiw or Tyler Cowen why would you resort to taking a class from some mid-level hack (assuming prices were similar)? The only reason 5,000 teachers are regurgitating the same subject in 5,000 separate classrooms around the country is because as little as a few years ago we didn’t have the technology for thousands of students around the country to learn from the same professor.

To wit: here’s a lecture by MIT’s Walter Lewin on torques and oscillating bodies, courtesy of Academic Earth:


Not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of such a transition. One commenter had a lively back-and-forth with Lindzon, accusing him of being “the Walmart guy that advocates crushing mom and pop stores” by scaling moderately talented non-superstar professors out of existence.” Lindzon, typically, was evasive and a little mischievous. Responding to the analogy “if you can watch the most beautiful video online, why have sex with your own wife,” he wrote, “Its not the same analogy. Its definitely a choice.”

(via Howard Lindzon)

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