Is This the Death of the University? Knowledge Production and Distribution in the Disintermediation Era

14 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2012  

Hugo Pardo Kuklinski

Universitat de Vic

Cristobal Cobo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Carlos A. Scolari

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Date Written: October 15, 2012

Abstract

In the 21st Century, an increasing number of citizens have access to Higher Education. However, the imbalance between free contents available on the Internet and expensive enrollment fees, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon universities, could cause long term problems for the Higher Education system. If the on-line experience is reasonably similar in activities and quality to the teaching provided in the classroom, why not consider a disintermediation of Higher Education, as has occurred in other business models such as the culture industry. What would happen if citizens and governments rejected university degrees that certify these institutions as a unique source of learning and professional legitimation?

It is well known that there is currently an active debate in the European Union about recognition and validation of informal learning (Council of the European Union, 2009). The aim of this debate is to design new accreditation methods that are not limited by the constraints imposed by formal education institutions. In this context the analysis of and reflection on disintermediation practices in Higher Education is more an academic necessity than an intellectual game. All the communication and cultural industries have already debated this phenomenon: Why should Higher Education avoid the discussion on disintermediation?

This article explores questions such as: To what extent is this phenomenon reshaping the traditional role of the university? Will it cause a crisis in the educational institutions? Will this disintermediation of education evolve towards the disappearance of institutions like schools and universities? In the following pages we reflect on these topics and propose new categories for understanding them.

Keywords: innovation, learning, university, research, technology

JEL Classification: I00, I21, N30

Suggested Citation

Pardo Kuklinski, Hugo and Cobo, Cristobal and Scolari, Carlos A., Is This the Death of the University? Knowledge Production and Distribution in the Disintermediation Era (October 15, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2161882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2161882

Hugo Pardo Kuklinski (Contact Author)

Universitat de Vic ( email )

Sagrada Familia 7
171 Edifici de llevant,
Vic, 08500
Spain

Cristobal Cobo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk

Carlos A. Scolari

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

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