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The Online Education Revolution (Cato Unbound Book 112012)

The Internet has already remade journalism in ways too numerous to count. By comparison, many educational institutions stand relatively unchanged: Students attend in-person lectures from professors at fixed times; they study, do homework, take tests, and receive grades, all more or less as they did before the advent of the digital revolution.

There is no clear reason why this should be, argues this month’s lead essayist, George Mason University economics professor Alex Tabarrok. Universities in particular stand to realize huge gains in productivity by making use of existing Internet tools that they haven’t adequately exploited so far. Along the way, many things may disappear, including the familiar 50–90 minute lecture class, fixed class schedules themselves, and even homework as we know it. He believes that education will become more flexible, more accessible, higher in quality, and cheaper in the process. Tabarrok isn’t just speculating, either. With fellow GMU professor Tyler Cowen, he recently founded Marginal Revolution University, a free online educational platform that aims to make the most of digital teaching’s potential.

To discuss this fascinating example of creative destruction and its implications for educational policy, we have invited a panel of distinguished commentators: Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Professor in Media Studies and Chair of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia; Alan Ryan is the former Warden of New College, Oxford, and a frequent commentator on developments in liberal education; and Kevin Carey is director of the education policy program at the New America Foundation.

Author: Alan Ryan, Kevin Carey, Alex Tabarrok, Siva Vaidhyanathan,

Binding: Kindle Edition

Manufacturer: Cato Institute

Product group: eBooks

Studio: Cato Institute

Publication Date: 2012-11-05

Publisher: Cato Institute

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Alex Tabarrok
Alex Tabarrok is Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a professor of economics at George Mason University. He specializes in patent-system reform, the effectiveness of bounty hunters compared to the police, how judicial elections bias judges, and how local poverty rates impact trial decisions by juries. He also examines methods for increasing the supply of human organs for transplant, the regulation of pharmaceuticals by the FDA, and voting systems.