distance learning = disruptive technology

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by SteveN, Feb 7, 2001.

  1. SteveN

    SteveN New Member

    First of all as a long time lurker of AED THANK YOU for setting this up.

    Second I came across this article today that I thought the group might like. You will have to register at the Harvard site to see the entire article but it is free.

    The article describes distance learning as a disruptive technology. Disruptive technologies are innovations that old companies fail to see as a change the market space. Such as the PC was to the mainframe makers or as 3.5 inch hard drives where to 5.25 hard drive makers. The author talks about how distance learning is a small but fast growing market segment and asks for readers feed back on whether schools like Wharton, Harvard and Kellogg should implement MBA DL programs.

    Personally I am not sure?

    Would there be enough DL demand for several programs like Dukes ~65K ?MBA.

    If the top programs provided a 30K MBA would they loose some of their value to Alum?

    Food for thought
  2. Chip

    Chip Administrator

  3. Chip

    Chip Administrator


    Welcome to degreeinfo, and *thank you* for coming out of "lurk mode" and posting.

    The article is timely and an interesting topic... I remember that Oberlin College president Nancy Dye was quoted as saying something to the effect of "Distance learning is a wonderful innovation, but, of course, we at Oberlin would *never* do such a thing"

    Presumably because it would be beneath Oberlin to do such a thing... and with on-campus education running close to $33K/year there, they wouldn't want to erode their high-dollar customers.

    I think that DL will cause a revolution in education, because it will become much harder to justify *any* $35k/yr programs, distance or campus-based, when there are a number of innovative, high-quality, low-cost distance and online delivery systems for education.

    And, if Peter Drukker is correct, these schools with the Oberlin mentality won't exist in 30 years... which is a shame, because it will mean the demise of some wonderful smaller schools because their trustees and senior staffs were too arrogant or ignorant to see the handwriting on the wall.

    Now, though... here's an interesting question:

    If you had a choice of a TESC undergrad degree for about $3500 all in, or a Stanford DL degree for, say, $12-18,000 all in, which would you choose?

    I'm not sure what my answer would be. And, of course, it would be different for each person, but I'd like to see what kind of responses that idea brings.
  4. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Very interesting question Chip. I think at the prices you quoted, I probably would go with the Stanford DL program. Granted, there is a big difference, but even the upper end of the price range ($18,000) is a super bargain for a 4-year degree from such a prestigious school.

    However, if the choices were TESC and a very good, but not "elite" school, I'd have to think about it quite a bit. Someone else mentioned either here or in a.e.d. that once you get past the elite schools, one undergrad degree is pretty much the same as another. It's probably not that black & white, but I think there's a lot of truth to that statement.

  5. Gary

    Gary New Member

    I have to agree with Bruce. I would enroll in the Stanford program in a heartbeat. In fact, I believe there is a HUGE market opportunity for the first, second and third major "brand" school (in the MBA world, for example, Indiana University Kelley School has created a 30K online MBA with one week/year residency)...and more should follow.

    That said, a 15K - 18K MBA from a top 20 school would blow the doors off the competition. I'd put money on it.

  6. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Gary wrote, <<That said, a 15K - 18K MBA from a top 20 school would blow the doors off the competition. I'd put money on it>>

    During my year as New Business Development Manager for Pearson, I visited many schools, from MIT and Wharton to some small and obscure ones, to discuss joint ventures in setting up online MBAs and other degrees.

    From the popular guys, the response was always, "But we already have 17 applicants for every position. If we were any more popular, we couldn't stand it."

    The arguments about hiring more faculty and staff were not well received.

    Pearson now has a deal for a mostly on-line MBA with Cambridge, and it will be interesting to see if Cambridge can be persuaded to take on significant numbers of new students.

    But my guess is that the biggest and fastest growing programs will come from Tiers 2 through N. (Recall that the obscure Heriot-Watt had, and perhaps still has, the largest MBA in America, by dint of a minimally interactive exam-based program; they spent their big bucks on developing all new self-study course materials rather than on faculty and staff expansion, and it paid off.)

    John Bear http://www.degree.net

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