An article by Zephyr Teachout in Slate's Big Money section recently suggested that in the future, universities may get dismantled by the net as more classes get taught online, or people seek education from many different institutions.
Which is an idea I've felt was the future trend for years- that teachers will one day once again be sought on the basis of their expertise much like the ancient academies. A student would no longer be restricted to getting an education from, 'just whoever happens to be loitering nearby' but could be more selective in who they gain their knowledge from, if they so choose.
But this could become both an exciting and dangerous free-for-all as some try to get students by short-selling their services, others going the route of rock-star, exclusive high-end mentoring of bright students.
We could either see an amazing transformation in the learning process or an increase in academic mavericks and fauxcademics. Which isn't too different from the current intellectual marketplace, but just the same...
My question ultimately has to be: How can teachers be best braced for either future? One where they are are confined to institutions without necessarily budgets to allow great outside travel or to bring outside guests in, or a future where it's basically every academe for themselves, pushed to be either among the best or the cheapest.