The wolf at the door of American higher education is online instruction. Traditional residential colleges hear it snuffling at the threshold. They know they are vulnerable. They cannot compete on price. Online is intrinsically cheaper. They compete awkwardly on utility. Online instruction is a more efficient way to convey knowledge and skills in a lot of fields.
Pushing back against the wolf is, of course, not the only option. Plenty of lycanophiles would like to see wolves roam freely in the groves of academe. Creative destruction is their abiding vision, and they see our older forms of colleges and universities as a herd of superannuated antelopes in need of a good culling.
Then there are those, like Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who have vigorously argued that colleges should make friends with and domesticate the wolf. They argue the future of higher education lies in making online learning an integral part of the traditional college curriculum. The wolf will happily take its place on the hearth and play tenderly with the children. <Read more.>