Online education isn't just an "experiment" anymore. Harvard and MIT have just set aside $60 million for free online courses, and schools from Stanford to Yale are pursuing online learning. In short, "what happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education: a rescrambling around the Web," writes David Brooks in the New York Times. As Stanford's president put it: "There's a tsunami coming," and it carries many concerns with it—but also a good deal of hope.
Brooks cites a few worries: What will this do to "the face-to-face community that is the heart of the college experience?" Will faculties shrink when "a few star professors can lecture to millions"? On the other hand, countless students will be able to learn from the best teachers on the planet; American universities will be able to reach further; teachers will have greater resources for their courses. But let's remember: "A brain is not a computer ... waiting to be filled with data," Brooks writes. There's more to learning than collecting information, and universities must keep that in mind as they expand online. Click for Brooks' full column.