The Khan Academy – which started from the humble beginnings of Salman Khan uploading small tutorials to Youtube for his niece in 2006 – has integrated Universal Subtitles‘ collaborative subtitling system into over 2,100 videos on their site.
This should be terrifying to those in the Academy – compared to paying a lot of money a lot of similar or the same learning can be done online and on the job – getting paid to learn. I read an article about this recently (which, of course, I can’t find now) which was very well argued – from the decreasing number of contact or “study” hours of the current University student cf those of the 60s, the general irrelevance of content to the type of problem solving require in today’s world, to the softly-softly, uncritical way that students expect to be treated given how much they are paying to be there – no one is to leave with hurt feelings.
Universities are increasingly irrelevant, and staff are so often overworked and their focus misdirected – performance measured on numbers of publications, rather than quality of research or teaching, with no regard for the fail early/fail often method of endeavor – has partly lead to this situation. The internet has obviously been the other major factor.
The Academy needs to start thinking differently, if they want to still exist in 25 years – I know I’d rather an interesting job and The History of English in Ten Minutes than the 80k of debt I’m currently burdened with.