Prospects for an Online Fix
HAVING PROVIDED WHAT I hope is a useful context, I will now discuss the prospects for using new technologies to address the productivity, cost, and affordability issues that I have described. I regard the prospects as promising, but also challenging. To succeed we will need to adopt a system-wide perspective, be relentless in seeking evidence about outcomes and costs, change some of our mindsets and our decisionmaking processes, and exhibit more patience than is our wont. None of these conditions is easy to satisfy! My focus will be on the contributions from established universities already serving large numbers of students. To be sure, we also want to serve new populations, at home and abroad, and a worldwide diffusion of knowledge is a most worthy goal—but it is not my central subject. Finally, in the search for new approaches, we need to recognize how well we do some things now, and how important it is that our educational institutions continue to stand for core values. That is the note on which I will end.
I am not a futurist but rather a maddeningly practical person who rarely has visions—and when I do, they are usually the result of having had a bad meal! But let me put such predilections to one side and ask readers to join me in imagining,