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Survival of the Twittest II: Digital Darwinism Comes to College

In 2010, we made a presentation to the senior planners in a Southern California city that is home to a state University.

We warned that the City could not rely on the students, faculty and staff of the well-established University as its economic lifeblood.

Our advice was that college education would be dragged, ever so slowly, forward into the 18th (!) century. Education would be value-engineered and students (or their parents) would not accept ever-increasing fees and old methods of instruction.

Education, like retail, like music and entertainment would move to online formats.

Professorial jobs would be lost.  Students would select better instruction even if they would never visit, much less live in, the city hosting the university.  Tenure would disappear in the new reality.

To a cynical, skeptical, even derisive audience, we showed this slide:

We pointed out that Retail has not SHIFTED, it has LEAPT into online formats.

And education would follow.

That Retailers were not really consolidating this time around…just closing.

And education would follow.

As an Adjunct Professor at another California institution, UC Irvine, I have seen the value of online learning up close and personal.  My students have “attended” from Delhi to Dublin to Portland and even a tiny village in Montana.

More and more colleges and universities are offering degree programs online and must compete with others worldwide.   Most recently America’s oldest university, Harvard, started offering courses online and has made itself more available than ever.

A Harvard education available in Nome Alaska or Stockholm Sweden?

“Distance learning” has come a long way from its birth in “correspondence courses!”

Certainly some courses will always need a physical presence in a lab or classroom, but we can even see the day when medical students can “practice” surgery virtually.

But there is no reason why the social sciences, humanities, law, business, finance, accounting and engineering cannot be fully online.

Costs get contained.  Higher education becomes available to more people with varied schedules…or jobs.

True “lecture” classes by popular professors no longer will be constrained by the size of the lecture hall.  Professors still do need to evaluate students’ work, but, there, too, will be able to use more tech tools to leverage their time and maximize actual instruction.

The winners? 

Great professors.

Excellent universities.

Students (and their parents!)


Lousy, complacent professors.

Average universities.

And the cities where they  both “live.”

We recommend those colleges who TEACH today LEARN today.  Several articles from iHAVE5Questions use the expression “Innovate or die.”

Colleges take note.

It applies to higher education as well as basic commerce.  In our article “Digital Darwinism, Survival of the Twittest,” we had this passage:

Brian Solis, a “social media anthropologist” has a quote that should hit us like a lightning bolt: “In an era of Digital Darwinism, no business is too big to fail or too small to succeed.”

It also applies to higher education.

Colleges take note.  (And parents!)

At iHAVE5Questions, by asking real questions of real consumers, we get real results that can spur real success. 

Are your real customers worth one minute?  If they have 55 seconds, we have 5 questions. 

5 questions that we develop specifically for your business to give you a snapshot of your customers’ purchasing motivations.

Are real customers worth one minute?

For previous iHAVE5Qs articles, please go to:

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