It's not really a new theme, I've been hearing this for a while. I find myself agreeing in spirit -- I know things are going to change dramatically in education. I just find myself skeptical that anyone really knows what the change will end up looking like at this point. Here are the key paragraphs to me:
"When this happens -- be it in 10 years or 20 -- we will see a structural disintegration in the academy akin to that in newspapers now. The typical 2030 faculty will likely be a collection of adjuncts alone in their apartments, using recycled syllabuses and administering multiple-choice tests from afar."
Strangely, this is a fair description of my Harvard Extension School class, which is "recycled" from my regular Harvard class -- the lectures are taped, the assignments are pretty much the same, and the one difference is since I can't have proctored "in-class" exams, I do a multiple-choice exams over the Internet. Eerie. Maybe somebody does know what the change will end up looking like.
"Not all colleges will be similarly affected. Like the New York Times, the elite schools play a unique role in our society, and so they can probably persist with elements of their old revenue model longer than their lesser-known competitors. Schools with state funding will be as immune as their budgets. But within the next 40 years, the majority of brick-and-mortar universities will probably find partnerships with other kinds of services, or close their doors."
It's nice to hear that I'm probably safe. (Harvard's still considered an elite school, even after the endowment drop, right?) I just need the current system to last another 30 years or so. But, as usual, this is something for those starting or thinking about a PhD to ponder...