Bill Gates Thinks Online Universities Are the Education of the Future

bill-gates-says-eudcation-of-future-online“Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world,” Bill Gates said at the The Techonomy Conference in Lake Tahoe. “It will be better than any single university.” He feels that the idea of going away to college will disappear relatively soon, and that universities will cease to be location based. He believes that students should get credit for their knowledge regardless of the means by which they acquired it and that the cost and difficulty of obtaining a college education will drive students towards online classes. One wonders if his opinions are not only informed by his position in the world of cutting-edge technology, but also by his own success without finishing a formal college degree.

He also critiqued our current textbooks. He found fault with their thick, heavy format and bloated content. “They’re giant, intimidating books,” Gates said. “I look at them and think: what on Earth is in there?“ He pointed out that in Asia, textbooks are a third of the size of an American book on the same subject. He said that textbook written by committee result in the addition of superfluous information. Along with all the other advantages that online learning has to offer, it’s no wonder so many people are choosing to take the digital leap.

Gates stated that he doesn’t think the current elementary and high school systems will change in the near future, particularly because schools provide children with supervision while their parents are at work. He praised charter schools where “you completely immerse the kid in the learning ethic.”

Via Switched and TechCrunch.

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10 Responses to “Bill Gates Thinks Online Universities Are the Education of the Future”

  1. brenda says:

    I agree with Bill, It will come to this due to rising costs to run a campus. I went to a online school and really enjoyed it. Though it is hard for job placement after. A lot of employers dont want to except this as a real school. I hope this changes soon, I know I worked My Butt of to get my degree and no one can tell me it was easy. An the range of prices for the same courses are rediculouis, taught with the same books, ticks me off! Be careful there are shraks in the water.

  2. Lonnie Kasina says:

    Way to go Bill. When you speak about education, most people only remmember you been a College drop-out or a CEO without a college degree. But this time around, by you endorsing on-line education, maybe many of the critics will start to view you otherwise, and take the issue of education very seriously.

  3. Eltonette Smith says:

    I am an online student and I find that having a hard copy of a book allows me to read my assignments when ever I want, like during the time I am doing the wash or whenever I have any free time, even instead of watching tv or being on the computer. I can relax when I am able to read at my leisure.

  4. fedup says:

    If only online universities were not such rip-offs. I took one class with the university of Phoenix and was charged $9,000. Stay away from them.

  5. PCB says:

    The graduate school I attended did not use books. I guess that was a good thing but I did not think so at the time.

  6. nancyb says:

    The one thing the internet doesn’t do is provide the give-and-take of a good teacher’s college class. Hearing other people’s opinions, as well, forms a real-time learning context which is hard to replicate sitting solo at a computer. That said, a lot of university classes these days are too big, affording no conversation, poor teaching, and, as Gates points out, terribly bloated and underused books. That will be the part of the college experience most vulnerable to Bill Gates’ challenge.

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