Will the Web Kill Colleges?

Topics: Distance education, Online shopping, Electronic commerce Pages: 9 (3299 words) Published: January 27, 2013

This paper will contain an analysis of Zephyr Teachout’s (2009) article, “Will the Web Kill Colleges”. The author discusses the implications online education is having on traditional brick and mortar institutions. The analysis will include information that supports and challenges the author’s perspectives on the future of our education systems. The argument and theory is then transcended to the analysis of implications the web is having on “Big Box” retailer, Best Buy. The analysis will conclude with a strategic plan of action for Best Buy to remain relevant in the consumer electronics industry with the increased competition coming from the web.

The evolution of the web has dramatically changed the way society acquires and disseminates information. This has had both positive and negative impacts on many industries such as education and retail. As the information available on the web expands, the number of industries that it will impact will also increase. Traditional brick and mortar destinations as we know them today will gradually become a thing of the past as society transcends into the age of convenience. Will the Web Kill Colleges?

It is anticipated that over the next 15 years, our educational institutions will make the transition to include a larger selection of online classes (Teachout, 2009). According to Teachout (2009), the number of online Colleges and Universities are also expected to increase, making traditional Colleges and Universities as we know them today a thing of the past. Teachout focuses on the benefits of online education to help support his argument. Benefits such as: lower tuition costs, schedule flexibility, the access to an abundance of free web resources, and less redundancies in course content (Teachout, 2009). According to Scholarships.com, (2012) the number one reason students do not go to college is due to the costs associated with attending. This evidence does help validate Teachout’s point, if the cost of tuition was lower to attend colleges online then more students would enroll. If we also think about this logically, there are other cost reductions associated with colleges being online opposed to having bring and mortar locations. Lower overhead costs due to savings in heat, electricity, water, and other utilities that would not be required to run an online University. Flexibility is another of Teachout’s points that can be validated. Most online Universities today specifically target adult learners due to the flexibility online classes provide. I enrolled in online classes for this exact reason. I am in a profession that requires long hours and a great deal of travel to fulfill my core job accountabilities. Taking online classes allows me to access my required work from the road or anywhere I have an internet connection. This is extremely convenient for my lifestyle and allows me the flexibility to determine how and when I complete my assignments during downtimes. I am no longer required to attend lectures at specific times on specific days. As long as my work is completed by the deadline, I have the autonomy to determine when, where, and at what hour of the day my assignments are worked on. There are however, two specific arguments that Teachout uses which I do not agree with. The first argument I strongly disagree with is the unlimited use of online resources and data bases online students would receive for free (Teachout, 2009). This statement makes it seem as though these benefits are inclusive to students attending an online College or University. The fact is these resources are available to anyone who has access to the web, free of charge, making this an irrational argument and a mute point. The second point that Teachout makes that I disagree with is that fewer redundancies would exist with online educational institutions because web efficiencies would lead to fewer researchers and professors (Teachout, 2009). The...
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