The government’s brand new strategy for NZ’s tertiary education sector for the next five years contains not a single reference to online education, and the word “internet” appears only once:
While patterns of competition, demand, and work continue to change rapidly, geographical barriers to learning are reducing as a result of advances enabled by digital technologies. For example, super-fast broadband is supporting new modes of internet-based provision and a broader trend toward more flexible, less place-based provision. These technology-driven changes will require New Zealand’s tertiary education sector to advance its thinking quickly on new delivery models
That’s a pretty glib quote with no clear strategy. Those geographic barriers were what protected NZ’s tertiary sector for a long time and the barriers are crumbling fast. Why learn at a NZ university from an average professor (apologies to my former colleagues …) when you can learn at a world leading university from a brilliant teacher without even leaving home? Yes there are some aspects of student life that can’t (yet) be duplicated online but those with highest willingness to pay for education want quality.
And why enroll in a rigid multi-year degree structured around a set of 1-hour lectures delivered over three-month semesters with long holidays when you can speed things up considerably and skip the boring bits and the padding that inevitably gets added to justify three or four years of fees?
I see online education as a huge threat to the NZ tertiary sector; the government seems to have its head in the sand.