The face of education is changing. Years ago, PhDs were some of the smartest people on the face of the earth because they had gone to the source of knowledge–the university.
That’s not the case anymore. The internet has made knowledge available everywhere now. I don’t have to go to the university to be exposed to knowledge I can now get for free online. The downside? I don’t get the letters at the end of my name. I lose prestige–respect.
Knowledge has, historically, been a marketed resource. “I’ll tell you what I know, but you’ll have to pay for it.” People now give their knowledge away for free. They blog, they write free e-books, they share on discussion boards. If you want the knowledge of a PhD, it’s all online–all available for free.
This presents a problem to the university. In order to survive, they need consumers hungry for what is offered nowhere else.
So far, the university’s answer to this problem is their collusion with peer-reviewed journals–the keystone of academia. To access those journals, you must pay (usually large sums of money) the the journal publishers or the journal aggregators. Or you can attend a university who will give you access to thousands of journals as part of the cost of tuition (and exorbitant fees).
So far the model is working, but all that is needed is a handful of universities to buck the system and refuse to pay the journals. The question then becomes, how will they provide unique and “credible” knowledge?