Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Will the Ivy League's pillars crumble?

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.

This was first posted on Scienceline.org.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Tara said...

Having spent time at both Yale and U of M, I still gotta say I prefer Yale. :) However, I'm at another Big Ten school now and my most recent paper was co-authored with a scientist back at yale, so I certainly see their point.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey what's up with NYU? Give us some ideas to put up at http://eucleiansociety.blogspot.com

Ed. ES

3:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home