The Economist | Free education: Learning new lessons

December 25, 2012


The Economist

Free education
Learning new lessons
Online courses are transforming higher education, creating new opportunities for the best and huge problems for the rest


TOP-QUALITY teaching, stringent admissions criteria and impressive qualifications allow the world’s best universities to charge mega-fees: over $50,000 for a year of undergraduate study at Harvard. Less exalted providers have boomed too, with a similar model that sells seminars, lectures, exams and a “salad days” social life in a single bundle. Now online provision is transforming higher education, giving the best universities a chance to widen their catch, opening new opportunities for the agile, and threatening doom for the laggard and mediocre.

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