COVID-19 Is Accelerating the Destruction of the Old University Models

The USA has almost 19 million college students. There are about 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Most US colleges are re-opening because they would go bankrupt if they did not have classes and students are not willing to pay up to $60,000 per year for video classes.

This article will review the following:
* COVID-19 potential deaths due to re-opening universities
* Financial risks by sticking with online classes and bankruptcies
* Online education and excessive tuition already put 50% of US Universities at risk of bankruptcy and now COVID-19 will accelerate shifting to online and popping the tuition financial bubble
* Taiwan’s College Campus safety protocols
* Predictions and Suggestions about the future of education

In Nature, researchers analyzed data from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service on 17,278,392 adults who were tracked for three months. The COVID-19 mortality risk for those aged 18-39 is 0.06% in the UK.

There is also up to twice the risk for those who are extremely overweight. This would mean that the risk of death from COVID-19 is higher for Americans as Americans has a higher percentage of people who are overweight than the British.

For simplicity let us assume that the COVID-19 mortality risk for those aged 18-39 (college age) is 0.1% in the Us.

If an additional 30% of US University students contracted COVID-19 by attending in-person classes then this would be 6000 deaths.

COVID-19 risks increase with age. Older professors and staff at Universities would be at far higher risk for death from COVID-19 if they were to go in person for their duties. If their collective risk was 1%, then the 1.5 million faculty would see 4,500 deaths if there were 30% of them that got COVID-19.

In July, 117 students at University of Washington fraternities had tested positive for COVID-19 since late June. 15 of 144 Frat houses had an outbreak. There are a total of 3500 students in the University of Washington fraternities.

Over 33% of US Universities and Colleges Already Had Weak Finances

More than a third of the 937 private universities examined by Edmit are in low financial health. They were likely to run out of money within six years. This doubled from two years ago. If those financially weak US universities or even financially stronger universities did not get their full fall tuitions then finances would rapidly worsen. In May, MacMurray College in Illinois closed after 174 years.

Many first-year US Students are deferring the start of University. There is massive drop in international students.

There was already a move to online education and video conferencing classes have not justifying the sky-high tuition.

Some UK Universities are Facing Bankruptcy due to the Pandemic

The Institute of Fiscal studies reported that thirteen UK universities are at risk of going bankrupt as the coronavirus pandemic hits their finances.

Long-run losses could come in anywhere between £3 billion (7%) and £19 billion (50%) of the sector’s overall income in one year. The central estimate of total long-run losses is £11 billion or more than a quarter of income in one year.

The biggest losses will likely stem from falls in international student enrollments (between £1.4 billion and £4.3 billion, with a central estimate of £2.8 billion) and increases in the deficits of university-sponsored pension schemes, which universities will eventually need to cover (up to £7.6 billion, with a central estimate of £3.8 billion)

Infection with COVID-19 can have debilitating long-term consequences, including lung disease, heart problems, brain damage, and mental health problems. There could be other unknown longterm COVID-19 effects.

Taiwan’s College Campus COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has national strategy for college campuses. The strategy included an initial quarantine, frequent testing of all students, sanitation, masks, distancing, reduction of student density, cleaning of dorms twice daily with bleach, and allowing only one student per dining table. It also included mandatory quarantine for anyone exposed, and infection-number thresholds at which an entire university would shut down. Taiwan has had only 480 cases in a country with a population of 24 million. Taiwan whole country only has 4 times more COVID-19 than 3500 students in University of Washington Fraternities.

Higher Education Predictions and Suggestions

COVID-19 is forcing a re-examination of how education should be delivered and it has brought forward the looming tuition crisis and the multiple financial problems.

Large COVID-19 outbreaks will occur at re-opened Universities. There will be forced closings and shifts back to online and video classes in many places.

Scott Galloway talks about massively increasing the capacity at US universities. Half of the classes would be fine being online. Using the extra capacity to double the number of accepted students.

US Universities will need to adjust hygiene to adjust to the pandemic, increase capacity, lower costs for students, update with online education to lower costs and to use classroom teaching where it adds value.

SOURCES – Institute of Fiscal Studies, Time, Forbes, Washington Post, Advisory, Top universities, Yang Speaks
Written by Brian Wang,

78 thoughts on “COVID-19 Is Accelerating the Destruction of the Old University Models”

  1. Just last night the company general manager was (after a couple of beers) going on and on about some of the “total fruitcakes” he had to deal with as employees.

    Conspiracy theories are not such a problem in and of themselves, but are HIGHLY correlated with other behaviour that DOES disrupt the workplace. Behaviour such as bringing a revolver to work. Losing it. Thinking maybe you lost it on the bus. Ringing the police to tell them. Then finding it in the employee kitchen where you’d left it. Then ringing the police to tell them to call off the city wide bus inspection. (He lost his carry licence. He never could understand why. He changed over to carrying a sword. At work.)

    This rant by the GM was sparked by a world wide company meeting last week, on zoom, where not all employees were wearing clothing. Not such a big problem when your image is a tiny 20×20 pixel blob in the middle of a screen of 200 such blobs. But if you start to talk and your image is suddenly magnified to a full resolution video…

  2. I do recall meeting some nicely rounded students when I was at university. None of them did women’s studies, though they were eligible.

  3. The sciences aren’t the only things taught at universities. These days I doubt they’re even the main thing taught there.

  4. To all those who think Universities are “indoctrination factories” I ask, what better source of information about the world is there than Science? Science is done at Universities by the academia. If you want to give up on the most reliable information we have about the world because it doesn’t suite your political beliefs that is your choice. But let’s be clear, you are choosing belief over Science. As for how universities teach, that is quite a different question. It should be kept in mind that there are many aspects of practical science that can’t be learned from lectures or tutes.

  5. Academia are the people that actually generate the scientific knowledge so who would be better “purveyors”?

  6. Sounds kind of like you are saying that other people’s bigotry isn’t as highbrow as your own.

    Kind of an odd way to go about things.

  7. Colleges spend all the money they raise. They leave savings up to well-to-do graduates who want a hall or dorm named after them to give them an endowment.

    Why save money when you can get it other ways? Why save money when the federal gov throws money at you?

  8. The rent-seekers who call themselves higher academia aren’t really the best purveyors of scientific knowledge. The high prices they demand are simply no longer worth it, when that information can be disseminated far more easily and efficiently.

  9. I thought math because there are complaints of not enough girls
    choosing STEM paths, but this is not true for medicine, at least where I live.

  10. Somewhere, I read that because mathematics is at the root of ALL science, to put that on the S.T.E.M. list would be redundant.  Moreover, people with a Math degree by-and-of-itself don’t have anywhere near the ‘career potential’ of following that matriculation goal as do technology, engineering and medicine. And Science, which while overbroad, certs encompasses biology, chemistry, physics, and other ‘-ologies’ in abundance.  

    But I don’t remember where I read that.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  11. Parents see as important sports facilities, sports stadiums, huge, impressive halls, shiny new tech projects, and diversity officers because their children are “just children”?
    Or just the student support workers?

    (I’ll grant that when I was at uni, I did use a lot of the sports facilities. And I did use the medical facilities too after I (literally) walked into a door and needed 7 stitches in my face)

  12. I’ve seen STEM defined in both ways. With the M standing for Medicine OR Mathematics.
    But you’ll be able to define Medicine as a science. Or a combination of a science and an applied science (engineering). So it works both ways.

  13. Yeah, but brainwashed or not, parents see those things as important, perhaps for the same reason they’re worried about sending the kids off to school in the first place – they realize their kids are too immature. And the kids just want to get away from their parents so they can start growing up, so they’ll pretend enthusiasm for those things even if they couldn’t care less.

    To make online learning attractive and widely accepted, we’d need to focus on letting kids grow up at a younger age (jobs, expenses, periods spent away from parents), instead of turning them loose on a college campus at age 18 to suddenly become adults. Get them to the point where they don’t need to escape to feel free, and understand that saving money with online classes can make sense.

    Obviously some (a few) parents do this well. Most parents really need an online training course.

  14. Nah.

    1) Because of diversity measures, a lot of these bottom feeders are diversity applicants. Come from mostly poor, untalented pool of people, artificially propped up by diversity/inclusion measures. As a taxpayer, many of these people are basically a drain on my resources, because of special grants and aid they receive. I understand that one way or another, I’ll pay for them. But I absolutely detest having to pay for their “best time of their life.”

    2) Universities are not merely “best time of their life” for losers. They’re also vicious propaganda sources. The system propagandizes everyone, including those bottom feeders, to justify their envy and covetousness, wrapping it up in ideological mumbo-jumbo, which exacerbates the problems of everyone, including those bottom-feeders. It also institutes a guilt-complex into people who actually come from good family and people who actually have a genuine talent to achieve. This further slows down societal progress, by directing people’s energies into some “cause rioting.”

    3) A lot of the bottom-feeders drag down the whole system, by putting pressure on institutions to accommodate, systemically, in various ways, for their dumbness(eg by creating “easy” classes for “core curriculum” etc). This comes at a cost to everyone.

    So, my opinion: I’d cut university education in the US, currently, by 50% with no long-term ill consequences to society and even the people who won’t get said “edumacation” will not lose that much (long-term)

  15. You are considering high level employees that in general had access to a good formation. Your employer will not even know if the subcontractor cleaning the floors or the guy that prepares the sandwiches for the cafeteria or the one that refills the vending machines have a distorted view of the reality that make them more prone to spread a disease during a pandemic

  16. That was a huge lampoon, right?

    If not, then it needs a serious and unapologetic rebuttal.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  17. I can’t add much to the excellent comments on the value of college already posted, except for the fact that “The average college graduate earns $78,000 a year compared to the $45,000 earned by someone with only a high school education, according to the analysis. That’s a 75% premium, or more than $30,000 a year. As an investment, a college degree has an average rate of return of 14%, the study found, well above the long-term return benchmarks for traditional investments like stocks at 7% or bonds at 3%.” – CNN
    But I can’t disagree entirely with Brian’s assessment that the information age is making in-person education look sclerotic and obsolete. This blog alone is teaching me more than any college class ever did. Of course, employers are paying for proven CAPACITY to learn, not just actual learning, and that is shown by a college degree.
    And Brian’s stats for Covid-19’s death rates in college are way off. Even the study he quotes show a 0.06% death rate in U.K. colleges, and it can’t be much different in the U.S. Heck, the OVERALL death rate to date from Covid-19 is only 0.05% (163,461 deaths into 328.24m Americans, as of 2019 figures). And obviously, college aged people, or even active college faculty, a much smaller number of people, are going to be younger than the average retiree populaiton that’s most at risk from Coviid-19.

  18. While lectures and tutes can be done online, you can’t do pracs. Also, online learning dramatically favours those students who speak up to ask questions (a small minority). As a teacher its very difficult to have the time to meet online with one or two students. But I can do this as I move around a prac teaching class.

  19. That’s right. Never let a science driven education get in the way of a good family-based ideology indoctrination.

  20. That now makes me understand why the “discovery” of cold fusion
    happened two years after Chernobyl . They needed not to lose students.

  21. Strange how STEM doesn’t include medicine. Probably because
    it is not the most rewarding things which are advertised?

  22. Agreed. There has been far too much emphasis on being a “well rounded person”. Students got all of the round parts but not the core. Too many degrees have such low potential. For instance a degree in womens’ studies only qualifies you to teach womens’ studies classes at another college.

    There’s no actual point to any of it.

  23. I think we are all dancing around the big issue here – so what? I think it is reasonable to say that the bottom 50% of STEM people and bottom 75-80% of Liberal Arts university attendees, not just grads, do not get anything out of their degree. But does anyone here honestly believe they would have done something else productive, life affirming, or positive with their time (or money)? They paid gob-tillions of monies to create and sustain eco-systems of ‘higher learning’ with all such low-value facilities, low-value administrative, and other such temporary live-play-study stage-sets??? And the endless debt? so maybe now they will push themselves to get some kind of job to pay the debt for the education they didn’t use. They might as well have gone to DisneyWorld for 4 straight years (someone do the math – which is a better deal?) or ate out at Appleby’s breakfast-lunch-dinner. Would these millions of Uni-fodder saved that cash/went-in-debt for enviro-issues or end poverty or put it in T-Bills — no, they would have parent-basement-ed away the hours and days and months — or back-packed — or otherwise took a gap-half-decade. These people are in the bottom chunk for a reason – this is the best time of their life and how else would they have raised money for an otherwise noble endeavour (education). Yes. University education is a racket, but what the world look like with 75% less tertiary education facilities – because people just decided to be practical and get to work.

  24. I have heard Americans say it was odd to have beer, spirits and wine served at Grade 12 school functions. (It was really cheap rubbish, teenagers can’t tell the difference.)

  25. I’ll admit that there are probably schools in Australia where there is a distinctive school tie. And presumably graduates could wear it after graduation so that other graduates could recognise them.
    I wouldn’t have noticed, because I would have just classified it as another ugly tie.
    My school had no tie. But it would have looked strange with short sleeve shirts and shorts. We had no air conditioning either.

  26. Case is point would be Jordan Peterson. After teaching at Harvard and Toronto, he thinks universities, especially when teaching humanities, do more harm than good.

    His YouTube follower base is much bigger than his university’s student base.

  27. Different customs give rise to different opportunities for businesses. Or maybe businesses promote different customs. I don’t know the history of high school class rings, so I don’t know which direction the drive was in.

    If I recall correctly, you are in Australia. There probably are some aspects of the customs there that folks in the U.S. would find more than a little odd. I don’t know what they would be. If you know anyone who is a transplant from the U.S. to there, they probably could point out a few.

  28. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the money in Universities is paying for lots of professors and tutors.
    The cost of actual teaching staff is only a small fraction, and one that’s not growing much.
    The REAL money has gone into
    –student entertainment facilities, such as sports, and the staff to run them
    –student “support” things like social workers to cheer up anyone who’s stressed their degree in gender free basket weaving might not lead to a good career
    — huge, impressive halls and shiny new tech projects, both of which are just cathedral envy among the “new priesthood”
    — high level assistant executive vice deputy overseer diversity officers

    You’ll note that ALL of those are not just useless, but just about impossible, for an online teaching course. Oh, they’ll still have the diversity officers, we’ll need another crisis before we can kick them to the kerb. Unless they can all be transferred to work for the corporate structure that is about to go bankrupt.

  29. Why is online learning much less controllable?
    Sure, you can, if you want, get a “degree” in Spirit communication with Aliens from Drum Circle U. But you can go and do that right now (or rather, last year when such places were open).
    It won’t be an “accredited degree” from a real university. And everyone, including all employers, will know this.
    Nothing stopping universities from still having to meet standards to be “accredited”. MIT won’t be giving degrees in over-unity machine engineering. Harvard Medicine won’t be giving degrees in faith healing. And if Random-state U wants to keep its certification, it won’t either.

  30. You make a valid point, but don’t realize that it invalidates your previous point. Employers – after the initial hire – have a hierarchy of concerns about you (a) by a long way- is how well you do your job, (b) is how much is your total compensation, ie. are you raising their group health insurance premium and (c) are you raising their risk of of adverse action legal actions through your interactions with other employees, customers and any relevant government agencies.
    So, if the knowledge from your degree doesn’t bear on your job – what do they care about what your degree is in? The actual degree acts more as a filter in the selection process than a requirement. i.e. BA in Computer Science or equivalent experience.
    I’ll throw out a quick survey question – have any of the readers of this thread ever been asked if they are an anti-vaxxer, flat-earther or believer in any other crackpot theory in a job interview?

  31. I’m more inclined to believe the “plandemic” documentary explanation…. that the high covid cases in United States are due to a recently developed flu vaccine that was developed and tested on animals before humans… it has the unintended effect of increasing flu resistance but also weaking the immunity against corona virus…. so there is your explanation why it strikes the United States more than other regions… it’s because Americans take the flu vaccine more seriously the other countries and accidentally made themselves vulnerable to corona virus. Y taking the latest batch with unusual properties of dimensioning the response to covid …. and it’s mostly older people who get the flu shot once a year…. most younger Americans skip it… which means the covid need to burn through the population of people who had flu vaccines recently before the fire goes out…and spent all they youth creating dance along videos on Tiktok

  32. OK – thought experiment:
    Lots of colleges/universities go bankrupt – even state universities are up for sale. Only a handful of rich schools are ‘safe’. You form a consortium that takes advantage of low interest rates to take on huge debt to buy up however many schools you want and operate them however you want. The virus will probably be gone by the time you open your schools, but might mutate and return.

    What does your new university or college system look like?

  33. Right – but again, the social distancing and such are not really so much to protect them. Stores, transport etc will have to take their own precautions – we’re looking at what colleges need to do.

  34. I don’t understand how these colleges are so financially strapped, the way they’ve been raising prices. If it’s all going to administrators, I have no sympathy. Cut the overhead or go out of business.

  35. The issue with poor education is only marginally linked to employment: your employer is really interested only in the small part of your education that is required for your job. The problem is that your employer (as everyone else) is not only affected by your professional skills but by your general view and understanding of the reality; if you think vaccines are hoaxes, that the black plague or Ebola are fake news and so on your employer might die (or at least have some serious problems with his business, when all the others employees get sick) because you have a distorted view of the reality.

  36. Learning can be automated and tailored with better learning material to the point that a life instructor is not needed. Even better written books can be enough. I am astounded how badly how badly and inconcise study books are still written.
    Still, live interaction is very important, and after we are done with the epidemic we will return to it, perhaps to a lower degree. It helps set the pace of learning and in more general terms Very little of good is done without human interaction, we are social beings, instructors and top tier universities will be demoted, but people will always meet, study together, with improved study material and someone who help set the pace.

  37. Supply and demand, it’s worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Hope you’re not one of those pinko socialist types.

    Freedom leads to modernity, inexorably. Crying about it will not prevent it, only one thing will.

  38. After the video they could make category most common questions answered and if they dont find it in search then somebody answers it.

  39. Skilled and talented teachers can make videos too. If you can learn a subject via YouTube then you don’t need a classroom for it. If the teacher isn’t interacting then it shouldn’t survive.

  40. Modern universities are jobs programs. Tuition has gone up five fold but teachers have not. Jobs were given to all sorts of administrators whose job is to hunt down wrongthink. This has all been made possible by endless federal money in the form of loan guarantees. More similar to SLS than people think.

  41. And you don’t think that employers will get some knowledge to do good hiring? I would think that this would be self regulating…

  42. Yep. The only draw back is that the teacher would have less time to explain any questions that a student might have. Then again, this could be solved by having discussions with the other students…

  43. The future is still what it was, but it’s coming faster.

    Look for a couple of dozen big name schools that offer relatively low-cost degrees online. You might have to go in residence for one or two terms somewhere, depending on the field of study (chem major would need a lab) but that might be arranged through third-party provided locations scattered geographically.

    The fully in-residence degree will be seen more and more as an extravagance and an atavism.

    My kid attends college away from home, lives in an apartment I rent, etc. I just got told fall classes are going to be online from the get-go. Makes sense. They would only be in class a week or two before someone would get sick and they’d all be moved to virtual anyway. Kid can stay at home now. A lot of people will find reasons why this is bad, but it is the way it is, and it is going to save me a bundle.

    As for K12 schools? They need to throw out the whole shebang and redesign all of it. Starting out with asking: What is the purpose and goal of society in educating children before they are legal adults?

    In times past (last year), teacher’s unions, school administrators, football dads, soccer moms (and, yes, cheerleader moms), school portrait photographers, yearbook printers, school ring jewelry companies, athletic gear makers, and so on, would have been an immovable obstacle. Now they are weakened . . . .

  44. In some countries there is a problem, because university gets more money from state if it has more different programms with more available slots. So it is in the professors and university staff interest that they can have as much students as possible, even if nobody needs so many cultural antropologists and similar. They want to keep high paying jobs.

    The problem is that people go and study that(especially in countries where studying at university is almost free) and they deceive young people, that they will get a job, there is a “broad” spectrum of available job oppurtunites available,…

    Later on they waste a few years a& a lot of money and in the end they get useless degree, because nobody needs so many cultural antropologists, bio psychologists and so on, so they need to learn something new again.

    If some hard working people study cultural antropology it is a great thing, we need diversity. But the problem becomes, when nobody needs so many particular graduates and study programms are just there to self sustain and fill pockets of few people.

  45. No SLS was designed to be way over priced and offer little. It was nothing more than a job program, The companies which competed actually offered several good alternatives which were turned down in favor of a more pork filled senate package.

  46. Lets be honest most of the money is going to administrators of some form or fashion who never provided any real boost to the people learning there and probably made it worse.

  47. 1. Hundreds of professors can repeat almost same thing over and over again to a class of few.
    2. Few most talented professors can make videos, which could be repeated to hundreds of thousand people.

    2. seems much more efficient, faster and cheapear way to do it.

    It make a nice difference if you listen to somebody, who is skilled, talented at passing knowledge on to his students.

  48. I celebrate the end of traditional universities as indoctrination camps for the young and malleable.

    The intrusion of poli-ticks and totalitarian agendas in education was simply obscene and untenable.

    Online courses and limited interaction will help the young people pass through their blossom years without falling prey to these ideological manipulators.

    And probably get them an education at more affordable prices.

  49. Honestly the best approach is to let the old university die and to create a new online, task and tutor-centric model for learning. I’d model it after the trade schools and only teach “practical” courses.

  50. Right now the STEM fields are trying (and failing) to fight off the “decolonize STEM” line of thought coming from the humanities 2+2=5 school of social construction.

  51. yes. we could all get our own mountain peak and provide valuable insights to driven adventurers who seek us.

  52. Up next a great discussion on how College became increasingly expensive while offering a product that was (at its best) stagnant and not increasing in value. Coincidentally it is the same reason why SLS is overpriced- when Government throws money at something the quality does not improve, the prices just go up.

  53. Excellent! Colleges provide little of value that can justify their increasingly exorbitant prices. Even the STEM fields are in danger of being corrupted with 2+2=5 cultural nonsense.

  54. The bottom line is to mix everything together so that you have a gameified version of university that maintains proper lab/ tech exposure, provides minimal smart-driven group exposure, creates minimum level of community/social venting needs, provides occasional prof glimpses to reinforce abstraction optimism, makes many TAs/RAs available so that one-on-one office hours can actually unlock potential and overcome mental blockages, allow living away from home and other appropriate ‘comfort zone’ encouragement slappings, while still creating some presence with the learning environment/ idealized campus, and all fully app-customized that shows current progress versus future trajectory (include competitive comparison with other students??? unsure if that has ‘productivity/ morale value?) Current universities have the ‘parts’ to enable and push our top 25% and provide civility and minimum value to the next 25%, but we have to find more society bridges and alternatives to bring along others. May the great ‘utility’ purge begin.

  55. Ah. My favourite topic: the value of tertiary ‘cattle car’ education, the need for ‘education’, and is there a better alternative? I wish I had the answers. I have a deep and fundamental belief that most people have very little potential, continually make choices against their own and society’s best interest, and that society is set-up to enable very few people to reach anywhere near their potential. So, let’s pretend that your parents have properly invested time, money, and experience into the first 15 – 18 years of your life (unlikely); so that you can ‘make it on your own’ but could benefit from worldly knowledge; specific abstract thinking and fact additions to your current meagre set; and some kind of varnish of civility, optimism, and societal exemplars to find a life path that combines your base abilities, your useful interests, and society’s needs to create a mixture of ‘maximum utility’. Such is the barest glimmering of a worthwhile goal. So how do the #s match-up: number of people worth teaching? number of worthwhile teachers? amount that benefit from proper path that allows for a smooth transition from university semi-abstraction to useful/ productive employee/ academics? Where the d$mn h$ll is any kind of proper internship/ apprenticeship/ co-op/ transitioning mechanism? Where the d$mn h$ll is any conversation between what industry needs and what college/uni can provide? Why doesn’t industry realize that colleges/uni provide better candidates than entry level?

  56. What does one need to learn nowadays? An iPad and a good connection.
    No physical books, no paper.One should go to the university only to
    have exams or for lab work. In those cases, safe distancing could be
    easily arranged.

  57. I rather think that college life will not necessarily change, but that the way institutions operate will change because of the skills that will be necessary in the near future surrounding sciences. There’ll of course continue to be the arts in schools, I’ve no doubt of that. But I believe we may see more and more institutions leaning toward sciences due to coming changes in the energy and aerospace industries. As we eventually push further into space, related academia will become more and more important and will push out courses and staff who would rather use school as a place for their own stump speeches– right, middle, or left.

    At least, I can dream. Quite literally, as I’m going back to bed. ^_^

  58. Online learning is much less controlled and controllable: you will end up trading gender inequality theory for a geophysics degree from the Flat Earth Univeristy or a PhD in biology from the noVax society…

  59. I agree that universities are going out of style in favor of online learning. I’m two minds about it.

    On the one hand, studying at the university allows you to find smart friends, a wife/husband and have a really good time. The dangerous and very stupid people are sorted out as a byproduct of a mild grade selection.

    On the other hand, universities are becoming more and more of indoctrination factories. In the best of worlds, the new online educations will allow students to skip the garbage being stuffed into curriculi that result in no increase of pay. If given a choice, I think most students would opt out of these courses. I.e. less indoctrination. 

    And would the colleges need all those diversity officers if the students were not actually on campus? Seems like a win to mee..

    Those that really choose to major in lesbian dance theory (LDT) could take these courses online at a far lesser cost. But would they? My guess is that credentialism would loose it’s importance somewhat. Is a ivy league university degree much more desirable if it’s just prerecorded online courses anyway? Meaning your ivy league dance theory master degree would be just as valuable as any online degree in LDT and and you spend those four years in your parents basement… Not a lot of fun, and the value would be limited when applying for a job…

    In the end I think that it’s a bit sad that college life will wither, but people with find some other ways of finding peers.

  60. The risk for college age kids is low enough to not worry about it, if it weren’t for older parents and faculty.

    So do ‘normal’ social distancing, masks, cleaning, etc. No dense seating – increase number of class sessions as necessary and tell faculty to suck it up if they want to have a place to give them a job in a year. Offer live video attendance options for any who can’t or won’t wear a mask. Record all live lectures, stream them and make them available for review so students don’t feel required to attend.

    Recommend that kids of older parents avoid going home even at breaks. Keep dorms open for a 14 day post-year self-quarantine for kids that want it.

  61. She did of course blather on about the gender pay gap and how little they respect her, and I brought up the possibility of her confusing this with her horrible life choices. Maybe you should have gotten a masters degree in something useful (like STEM) instead of a doctorate in nonsense.

    She barely had the qualifications to get a job at a university. No private company would have hired her. She offered no value. She had these massive looms from 1945 and these grids used to pre-program the looms like a weird version of a player piano. I asked her how long it took her to make the rugs using these looms and she told me they had the buy the rugs because they could never get the looms to work. Nobody on campus has those skills.

    I had a few decent ideas for her woman cave which she said she had never considered. She worked there for 10 years and never considered ideas I just threw together in 5 minutes. So sad. This is her life. She guards rugs in a basement nobody wants to visit unless forced to do so, to round out their own useless degrees I suppose.

  62. I won’t cry too hard for universities going bankrupt, at least in the USA. They made a business model of selling worthless degrees to naive children, for exorbitant prices, while offering little chance for said children to land a job that pays enough to make the degrees worth the money. There should be a massive class action lawsuit against these universities for offering worthless degrees.

    Making matters worse, we as a society pay for these degrees over and over. Student loan debt has the singular distinction of being the only debt you can’t avoid even when you go bankrupt. Meanwhile, our tax money is going toward government loans and grants for use at these same universities.

    It’s become a sleazy business model, not an institution of higher learning.

    I saw a great example of this in Pennsylvania where we met a woman with a doctorate (in possible literal basket weaving or more likely women’s studies) who was working in a basement of the building across from the main college campus, guarding rugs. She had an exhibit of 1840’s style rugs and made sure we wore plastic gloves before we touched them. She was surprised we were there because nobody had visited her area in 10 years unless forced to do so (her words). She was the “manager” of the office, with no staff. What a cautionary tale she was. A high school dropout could have done her job.

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