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[Slashdot] - Is Big Tech About to Take Over Higher Education?

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"In 2017, Scott Galloway anticipated Amazon's $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods a month before it was announced," reports New York magazine (in an article shared by long-time Slashdot reader Faizdog). Galloway teaches marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, and he's now predicting the pandemic "has greased the wheels for big tech's entree into higher education." The post-pandemic future, he says, will entail partnerships between the largest tech companies in the world and elite universities. MIT@Google. iStanford. HarvardxFacebook. According to Galloway, these partnerships will allow universities to expand enrollment dramatically by offering hybrid online-offline degrees, the affordability and value of which will seismically alter the landscape of higher education. Galloway, who also founded his own virtual classroom start-up, predicts hundreds, if not thousands, of brick-and-mortar universities will go out of business and those that remain will have student bodies composed primarily of the children of the one percent. At the same time, more people than ever will have access to a solid education, albeit one that is delivered mostly over the internet. The partnerships he envisions will make life easier for hundreds of millions of people while sapping humanity of a face-to face system of learning that has evolved over centuries. Of course, it will also make a handful of people very, very rich.... "I just can't imagine what the enrollments would be if Apple partnered with a school to offer programs in design and creativity. I can't imagine what the enrollments would be if the University of Washington partnered with Microsoft around technology or engineering. These would be huge enrollments. The tech company would be responsible for scale and the online group part. The university would be responsible for the accreditation.... In ten years, it's feasible to think that MIT doesn't welcome 1,000 freshmen to campus; it welcomes 10,000. "What that means is the top-20 universities globally are going to become even stronger. What it also means is that universities Nos. 20 to 50 are fine. But Nos. 50 to 1,000 go out of business or become a shadow of themselves." Galloway argues that right now universities "are still in a period of consensual hallucination with each saying, 'We're going to maintain these prices for what has become, overnight, a dramatically less compelling product offering'... There's this horrific awakening being delivered via Zoom of just how substandard and overpriced education is at every level..." "I want to be clear: There is some social good to this," Galloway emphasizes. "You're going to have a lot of good education, dispersed to millions and tens of millions of people who otherwise wouldn't have access to computer science or Yale's class on happiness."

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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