Technology phasing out all private colleges

Technology phasing out all private colleges and universities due to the rampant growth of MOOC technology


Internet is a destroyer of traditional businesses especially those that resist change.  This essay will discuss the possibilities of technology phasing out all private colleges and universities due to the rampant growth of MOOC technology. Specific attention is given to RIT University which is private in nature.

MOOC is a term that was in the year 2008 during a program known as “Connectivism and Connective knowledge” which was offered to about 25 students who paid tuition fees at the University of Manitoba, alongside another large number of general public students who took the program free of charge. (Goldin, 2008) Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) refers to a program that targets interactive participation in large scale as well as open access through the web.

MOOCs are one of the recent trends and developments in the education sector. They facilitate open education and ideal for distant learners. It is worthy to note that this kind of program does not charge tuition fees, neither does it offer academic credit. Research has shown that only about 10% of those who enroll in this course actually complete it. (Bowen, 2013) MOOCs started around 2008 and owe their origin from a movement called the open educational resources (OER).

The year 2012 marked the explosion of these courses with many high-class universities embracing them largely. A good number of well-funded entities that are connected with world-class universities which are well renowned collaborated with these learning institutions to offer the courses. Some of these organizations include Udacity, Coursera, and edx.

A big number of universities scrambled to have a place in this new arrival, just like other established service providers that are related to online education, the likes of Blackboard Inc. This has been termed as a stampede. Right now, many universities in Mexico, Canada, Asia, and Europe have partnered with these big MOOC providers from America. In the year 2012, there was launched the first MOOC for high schools. It was launched by the University of Miami Global Academy. This program became accessible to all high school students who were preparing the biology SAT Subject test.

Although MOOCs have offered a big relieve to students in terms of fees and other numerous benefits, it has presented some challenges towards the survival of the small universities that used charge fees for their courses. This forms the backbone of our discussion in this paper.

Problem Statement

Smart intentions come and leave. Anxiety for status looks to be the motivating factor in higher education institutions, and where elite universities go, others follow.  MOOCs have had a big adverse impact on the education sector. Out of the thousands of students who register in the program, only less than 10% end up finishing. It is shocking that these MOCs have shifted the public perception of online higher education to the most recognized international universities.

One of the education stakeholders adversely affected by this recent development is the private universities that offer education services to the learners at a fee. They rely on these tuition fees to run themselves. Now that most students have rushed to the large famous universities because of the free online program, how will these colleges survive? This paper will analyze whether MOOCs have a negative impact on the survival of other colleges, with a case study of RIT University. (Reed, 2008)

Acceptance of MOOCs will and has already presented a number of challenges to the management of the quality of education. Some training requires the learner to physically present themselves to the tutor. Going by the principle of MOOCs, we will skip or drop this important requirement and hence half baked products.  This analogy is, to a great extent, wrong. Take for instance a student taking a driving course. How do you trust that someone who took the online program in driving really understood everything and award them a driving license? How do you verify that they can handle an automobile before granting them the driving license? These are some of the questions this research paper will look into.

At the present time, the sale of college credits is strictly controlled. There is a monopoly on the issuing of learning units which can be indicated in the credentials with large acceptance in the job market. We all know that monopolies are expensive assets to own and regulate, with monopolists less willing to relinquish them freely. MOOCs, though a good development, has received many criticisms and that is what this paper sets to look. First, there is a high demand for digital literacy for the program to be successful. The program is kind of chaotic since participating parties have to come up with their own contents. (Tettegah, 2006)

Moreover, a lot of effort and time is required from the participants. It is also worthy of mentioning that the course is organic in the sense that it shall take its own trajectory.  Participants have to have the ability to regulate themselves during the learning process and probably allocate themselves a target to meet by the end of the day. It is for this reason and many other factors that this paper is for. This paper will elaborate on all the challenges of MOOCs with respect to private universities, and more specifically the RIT University.


In approximately fifty years to come, or even sooner that, nearly half of the estimated four thousand and five hundred institutions of higher learning that are now in operation in the United States shall have long ceased to operate. (Russell, 2006) The technological wave behind this impact is already being experienced, and apparently, it looks nothing will stop it. This is what the future holds for most of the private universities, and so is the RIT University.

Accessing education at the university level will be absolutely free for everyone who wishes to. The residential university campus will, therefore, be rendered obsolete with thousands of the teaching staff losing jobs. Consequently, the bachelor’s degree will increasingly lose its relevance. Within a period not longer than ten years from today, Harvard University, amongst other large and famous universities will enroll millions of students, due to the low cost of learning resulting from MOOCs. (Voogt & Knezek, 2008) It is against the principle of economic rationalism for an individual to pay so much money for fees in a private institution of learning when they get the same education services from a more reputable college.

In recent years, the stories of the “college bubble” have been told everywhere. Debt from student loans has significantly risen, with every graduate owing roughly $23000. Tuition fees are still going high at a rate higher than the inflation rate, as it has been for decades. The inflation of credentials is bringing down the value of a degree.

Things are not like traditional when a bachelor’s degree used to be a preserve for a few. (Kozma, 2003)With the technology of MOOCs, education is made accessible to every wiling learner. Students are reportedly defaulting their loan debt at an alarming rate. This is to some extent a function of the economy. However, there is still some persistent belief within the public that a college degree is worth it. With the harsh economic condition, and this belief that fuels the desire for a university degree, learners will have a suitable option of shifting to the public universities to exploit the free online education, courtesy of MOOCs.

Nearly everyone else will witness a great decline in enrollments since prospective students will become more sensitive to price. An article from Huffington Post has reported that different survey from over three hundred private universities and colleges have indicated reduced expectations of recording revenues. This is due to the significant level of students shifting to public universities.

On top of the issue of the debt arising from the students’ loan, uncertainties of revenues and the perception of the value by the public, there’s the possibility of interference by technological milestones like the MOOCs. The scene is not chaos- free and structural changes regardless of whether they are technology supported or not have to be thought of in order to survive. However, a very minimal number of leaders are willing to share and discuss these structural changes, leave along resolving them. In other words, we are saying that the leadership is not bothered by the challenge of the MOOCs technology rendering private colleges and universities obsolete. RIT University is one of these private universities and is therefore at risk.

A certain reporter writes in an article that he went to speak to a group of provosts and presidents about the matter. He says that research university presidents were not present, but had sent few deans to represent them. The deans were really worried about upcoming challenges.

One of the most shocking paradoxes is that MOOCs are currently being offered by a majority of the most prestigious public universities like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. (Cullingford & Haq, 2009) If scholars are given an opportunity to choose to do a program online, then it goes without saying. They will, of course, choose to take it from these world-class universities. They will wish to go for an institution with a brand name. Advertisements via the web that will accompany these online courses will yield to revenues that are far much enough to write off or cover up the on-site education.

Moreover, if the expensive on-site education can be equated with the elite online education which is free, this will pose a big challenge to the public universities. Most private universities charge high fees so as to maintain their competitive edge. Universities that are less elite will at times charge higher tuition fees compared to the ones that are more elite so that they can get finances to put up structures like cafeterias, gymnasiums, state-of-the-art-buildings among other facilities which compensate for their being less reputable. These institutions are considerably expensive due to the fact that they don’t have sufficient endowments like the elite ones which they use in offsetting the costs of honorariums, scholarships, long term maintenance among other glamorous expenses.

We all know very well that the technological revolution has brought a very big impact on the education system, yet no one is concerned with resolving the necessary changes that are required. We just appreciate and acknowledge the changes forgetting the systematic and the structural alterations that are needed, and how they are likely to affect the social scripts and the business models which maintain the status quo. This is because such changes pose threats to many of the vested interests and also the mind of human beings tends to be resistible to the anxiety that goes with it. But whether they will continue to resist or not, a big change and a revolution for that matter are coming to the education sector.


Streaming videos are going to replace the live lecture. Handling of assignments and administration of exams as well as the exchange of coursework over the internet will be the norm. Therefore, we cannot stop change although it will negatively impact on private colleges and universities and so is RIT University. Universities will reach out to worldwide students, without geographical limitations or even time zones. All this will come but at the expense of private universities like RIT University.

One will wonder or deny that this will actually come to pass, but history has recorded that technology and especially the internet is a merciless killer of the traditional businesses. It killed the livelihoods of the traditional traders of the stock market by exposing their proprietary information; it will also destroy these traditional learning facilities.

Work Cited

Bowen, W. G. (2013). Higher education in the digital age. Princeton: Princeton Univ Press.

Cullingford, C., & Haq, N. (2009). Computers, schools, and students. Farnham: Ashgate Pub.

Goldin, C. D. (2008). The race between education and technology. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Kozma, R. B. (2003). Technology, innovation and educational change . Eugene : Eugene Iste Publ.

Reed, R. H. (2008). The impact of Tablet PCs and Pen-based technology on education. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press.

Russell, M. (2006). Technology and assessment. Greenwich, Conn. : Greenwich, Conn. : IAP, Information Age Pub.

Tettegah, S. Y. (2006). Technology and education. Amsterdam: Oxford: Elsevier JAI.

Voogt, J., & Knezek, G. A. (2008). International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education. New York: Springer.




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