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Its time for a new type of university

Universities have become driven by profit, not driven by the will to offer the best education. I'm sure the founders of the universities had a different thought than profit when they founded their university many years ago. For example, in Ireland, 180 people in higher education earn more than €150,000, of which half earn over €200,000. So, what can be done to change this?

In my opinion, Universities have become outdated. While I have been studying engineering at UCD, I found that the lecturers were terrible. Very hard to listen to someone who reading off slides word for word and expects you to write it all down and listen to him simultaneously (its also a lot quicker to read than write). When I went home I found tutorial videos online which explain the whole lecture in less than 10 minutes. I don't believe my tuition fees should pay for lecturers that cant/wont teach.

Since there is a vast amount of information readily available from home, why pay for a campus, or lecturers at all? All the people require to do all the studying at home is a laptop, Internet connection, dates for exams and maybe labs(depending on the subject). So, one could slash the cost of getting a degree by publishing a list of topics one has to cover for a subject, and give them dates for exams and labs. All one needs is a hall for the exams, and a few supervisors. For the labs, one could use university campuses in the holidays, while they are closed, until a university without lecture halls is opened. One could set 4 dates for exams each year, and hold multiple labs every year. So, one could progress at his own rate, and sit the exams when one feels ready. You could even finish in a shorter time than a conventional university, which will appeal more to some.

Since the costs for this university would be down tremendously, free higher education would finally be viable.


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    Dec 10 2011: Well, Aindreas, I am working on it. I promise. I am working on a data standard that will allow anyone in the world to get a complete (and far more thorough) education, anywhere in the world (even where there is no internet connection or behind firewalls), all for free. If I am successful I envision a change in the university system similar to what you are looking for. I would expect universities to sell access on a subscription basis. Students will study using this system and only come into the university to ask particularly difficult or timely questions, participate in group activities, use lab facilities, and to take qualification exams. The system will even allow employers to easily generate tests that test for the exact qualifications desired so reliance on degrees will be diminished.

    I call my system the Distributable Educational Material Markup Language (tm). Take a look at www.demml.org and tell me what you think.
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      Dec 14 2011: You'll be our time's Francis Bacon if you succeed. You say, "all for free" and then that you "expect universities to sell access on a subscription basis." The latter doesn't quite sound "free."
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        Dec 14 2011: Ah, the DEMML content will be free. Because all of the content will be free, people won't have as much need for going to class. Therefore, the only things that universities will have left to offer is access to mentors and use of facilities. Those are outside of the DEMML system. I am sure many other organizations and ad hoc groups of people will offer many, if not all, of those services for free. So, a person will be able to learn all they want for free. Some of the methods that may make that learning a little bit easier for some people may cost some money but that money will not go to DEMML.

        Think of it this way: I can go to the library and check out books for free. But, if I want a computer program to help me keep track of all the books I have read and my notes on them, then I MAY have to pay some money for that program, depending on my needs and desires, but that is not the library's fault.

        P.S. I certainly FEEL as if I may die of pneumonia this week. But I'm sure that's not what you meant. (Oh, and would I have to wear the hat?)

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