Over the past few weeks, a drama unfolded at one of America’s most venerable institutions of higher learning that sparked a nationwide debate. On June 10, the University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan announced her resignation, citing a “philosophical difference of opinion” with the university’s Board of Visitors. After an uproar from almost every corner of the school, from faculty and staff to students and alumni, the trustees reversed the decision and Sullivan triumphantly returned to her position.
At the crux of the dispute over Sullivan’s ouster was how public universities like the University of Virginia should face the challenges of dealing with dramatic budget cuts along with pressure to increase opportunities for online learning.
The Aspen Ideas Festival kicked off yesterday with a discussion along the same lines on whether or not college learning will be influenced by technology. Andrew Ng, an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University, spoke about the influence of online learning and how it has reached a critical “inflection point.”