Universities to Futurists: “The Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated.”

Give me a second while I remove the palm from my forehead.  Okay, here we go again – yet another wanna-be futurist desperate for press is predicting the death of universities.  The Wired Campus has a short, great article on this silliness:

Colleges Will Be ‘Torn Apart’ by Internet, Law Professor Predicts

They appropriately shred this argument to bits.  Not that it is hard.  Let’s see… the first time I heard this “death of the university” junk, the prediction was that they would be gone by 2010.  Which is… three and a half months away? Better start kickin’ the bucket soon all you Universities… you all must have missed the memo.

George Siemens also gives some longer thoughts on why universities won’t go away any time soon. Not the least of which is how much research your average college professor adds to the world, making it a better place to live one study at a time.

The sad thing is, there is plenty of room for us to discuss how the Internet will tear apart colleges by re-arranging how we deliver and design education.  But that does not seem to be what the whole “death to universities by 2020” movement is saying.  They are saying colleges will just be gone.

Gone?  Let’s see here – actual classroom education is a small percentage of why many student go to college.  They also go to socialize, to become involved in service projects, to take a smaller step towards independence from parents (unless they are unfortunate enough to have the helicopter variety), etc, etc.  So, not only will the Internet change how colleges educate, but it will fundamentally re-alter the entire system from top to bottom, completely removing a large list of non-educational reasons for going to college? I highly doubt that.

I need to make up some crazy theory and gain some attention.  Let’s see…. how about “Second Life will replace all office cubicles by 2020.  Sources report that Dilbert is speechless.”