is a degree still worth anything?

by Richard Riehle

college-diploma-cap-and-tasselOne of the most obvious outgrowths of the increase of online higher education is the idea of certification becoming more and more problematic. In this article from the Thinking Stick (an education blog I check each and every day…it is usually worth it!) the author posed this same idea.

How Much Longer Will a Degree Mean Something?

What has me thinking is the news I have been following about the Stanford Artificial Intelligence class that is now open for anyone to join. Some 35,000 people have turned in the first three weeks worth of assignments and are completing the same work as those paying thousands of dollars for the course at Stanford only for free.

At the end of the course, those that complete all the work will receive a certificate from Stanford. They can’t actually get Stanford credit because…well…that wouldn’t be fair to the 175 students in the class that are spending thousands of dollars to take it on campus.

So if I can take courses for free and I can get a certificate that says I have completed this course, or that course, what does the degree actually get me?

I think we’ve already started to see the end of the degree in many areas, especially around technology where kids are hired straight out of high school or drop out of college to go work for the likes of Microsoft or Apple just to name a few.

The knowledge they have trumps a degree.

As with so many other problems regarding the scope of what college education has fallen to these days (grade inflation, lowering standards, intrusive political correctness, and the upcoming student loan bubble bursting) it can make you really wonder of the whole collegiate system may be about to collapse (of its own corruption). I’m just saying…

I don’t have any answers, but it doesn’t take too much effort to substantiate a lot the ideas presented in my post as well as the Thinking Stick’s article.