WHEN PRESIDENT JOHN HENNESSY invited me to give the 2012 Tanner Lectures at Stanford University, I accepted readily, in part because I had already been thinking for quite some time about the twin subjects I would discuss: the “cost disease” in higher education and the potential of technology (finally!) to ameliorate the disorder. I spent much of the summer of 2012 pulling my thoughts together and working on drafts of the lectures, which were given in October of that year. Stanford arranged to have the lectures complemented by formal commentaries from President Hennessy himself (who participated actively in both the post-lecture discussions, as well as in the two formal commentary sessions), Howard Gardner of Harvard University, Andrew Delbanco of Columbia University, and Daphne Koller of Coursera.1
Peter J. Dougherty, director of Princeton University Press, the long-time publisher of my books, expressed a strong interest in publishing a revised version of the lectures along with the commentaries. We have now, in this book, the results of this expression of interest.
The original lectures have been available on the ITHAKA website since they were delivered, and printed copies have been