How long will this bookstore stay busy? [CREDIT: ABSOLUTWADE]
As someone who took plenty of heat for choosing a Big Ten school over her father’s Ivy League alma mater, I have to admit that reading this commentary by Salon’s Andrew Leonard brought a smug smile to my face. Thanks to the internet, elite universities may no longer have the right to act so―for lack of a better word―snotty.
Indeed, it makes perfect sense. Historically, the quality of education a school provided (and the quality of research its faculty conducted) used to depend, at least partially, on the school’s physical proximity to its resources. Leonard writes:
But the Internet has enabled collaboration without physical proximity. So an up-and-coming new-growth-theory theorist at the University of Florida can coauthor a paper with a Stanford or Harvard or Chicago professor without having to move across the country. This is a great thing — the democratization of education. As the authors note, “If improvements in communication technology have made low-cost access at a distance possible for production purposes, then firms have lost a powerful instrument to regulate and control the accumulation and utilization of knowledge.”
So now that information and communication are just a few clicks away, who needs a fancy diploma and an address in Cambridge, MA to get somewhere?
Not me, my friend. Not me.