Online education is often dismissed as a pipeline for expensive degrees of little value and a sponge for veterans’ tuition payments. But while it’s true that for-profit universities have made a hefty business out of e-learning, it’s becoming apparent that learning online can also benefit almost everyone else.
“It’s very clear that five years from now, on the web, for free…you will be able to find the greatest lectures in the world on the web,” Bill Gates recently predicted in an interview at Techonomy 2010.
Gates is not the only smart guy pulling for online education to extend the reach, affordability, and even quality of education. Here’s why the virtual classroom counts deans of prestigious universities, entrepreneurs, and people who want to change the world as its advocates.