Is the internet making university obsolete?

Is the internet making university obsolete?

I have been reading about this topic a lot lately and seeing it popping up various places. Not only that but many of my university friends are speaking and posting about this as well.

So the question is, will universities become obsolete soon? Or better yet, is the internet making university obsolete?

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I somehow doubt this. Yes it is true that vast amounts of so called free on-line universities have been appearing lately, as well as on-line paid universities. Also the internet contains a wealth of information that people are choosing to self-educate themselves with.

However, I believe that many are too set in their old ways and traditions (and those of their parents), for the traditional physical campus university to die out any time in the near future. I could be wrong. Only time will tell.

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The overall free knowledge acquirable over the internet is making all forms of university studies old fashioned and out dated. At least that is what many people are arguing. Most still prefer having some physical proof of their “knowledge” though. Something tangible like a university degree/diploma that they can frame. Others like the campus based university experience. How often do we hear our friends and family talk about their university years as being “the best days of their life”?

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I must say that I personally find the ideas of self education and free education (online) very appealing. Just do an internet search and you will see what I am talking about. Even just reading up on all the options is more fun than sitting in a boring classroom. Plus imagine studying in your free time only. You could earn money by day and study at night. It all does sound great, but I wonder if these trends will be picking up any time soon.

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The rumours going around concerning so called self-education and free on-line education, is that these will soon become the preferred methods of “studying”. Most young people say this is due to factors such as, poor service delivery, horrid study conditions and the overall high cost of university studies. Some even feel they shouldn’t be paying for something that does not guarantee a higher salary, or even a job these days.

Both forms of studying hold great appeal for very different reasons. But, as I said above, I really think it is highly unlikely that “self-education” and on-line universities (both free and paid for), will be taking over the traditional university any time soon.  How does the saying go, “old habits die hard” (Franklin). What do you think?


Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016



Feedback concerning the topic

Edit: I recently found and tried, which is a website on which anyone can enrol for fairly cheap courses about virtually anything you can think of. Field experts are in charge of creating the courses.

You will even find some free courses in the prospective fields you choose to explore. This website is a good example of a “self educating” resource that many people make use of. Why not try Udemy out for yourself and let us know what you think about internet education? Especially when comparing it to your university studies. ACKYS 2017.

Note: This is truly such an interesting topic, so I have decided I will keep researching it for future postings. It is also incidentally the post I get the post feedback on from readers.

Since I wrote this piece back in 2016 so much has changed worldwide. More and more young people are opting to skip studies to try and make their fortunes online or via app creation. Others are turning to social media for fame.

Also, more and more free online courses and resources are popping up at a vast rate. As the world is changing, so is the way we choose to educate ourselves it seems. Keep checking back because there will most definitely be new postings regarding this. You can all count on it! ACKYS 2018.


The increase in poor study conditions and service delivery at many universities

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In the last two weeks since my last posting, I have been doing research regarding study conditions and service delivery at various institutions of higher learning. The reason for this being I got to thinking about all the extra hurdles students have to face outside of their academic challenges.

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Let me just start by stating that I in no way wish to name and shame any academic institution in South Africa, or Internationally by writing this post and I am in no way referring to any specific institution. I am just merely stating information I have gathered during my research into the topic.

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I took the time to speak face to face and on-line with various students both locally and internationally and found an amazing trend of similar issues regarding study conditions and service delivery. Some of these issues include:

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1. Classes that are too large for lecturers to give individual students much needed one on one personal guidance, support and attention.

Why this still occurs in modern teaching is a total puzzle. When we do education studies, it is taught that classroom sizes are to be kept small enough so that each student/learner can receive individual attention. Unfortunately in practice/reality this never really happens.

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2. Lack of modernisation in traditional universities as well as on-line universities.

Many universities are still found to be stuck on old, outdated “traditional” methods of tuition as opposed to new methods that have been proven to work. A good example of this is the fact that most universities still make use of traditional written examinations which don’t really test the students abilities or knowledge.

A more modern approach (that has been tried and tested), is to incorporate practical experience and alternative testing methods. Many students get left behind with traditional instruction/testing methods; which comes as no surprise, since these methods do not cater for all the various learning styles.

I will never forget one particular fellow student when I was studying. He was really a brilliant learner that understood all the subject matter very well. So much so, he explained most of it to everyone else in class. Yet come exam time he almost failed. Why? He couldn’t write very fast and could only do about half the written exams in the time given (two hours). This was something I found to be challenging as well, since I too cannot write very fast (unless I want my written work to come out as one big illegible mess).

Why on earth don’t universities let their students type out their examinations? Or better yet, why not replace all written examinations with portfolio type assignments?

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3. Lack of contact, support and service from on-line learning institutions.

Many students had complaints about receiving almost no feedback of any sort regarding their questions/issues. They (students) found that lecturers were mostly unreachable via telephone or e-mail and that on-line systems were “down” most of the time. Another common issue mentioned was that study materials were found to be poorly structured.

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Do any of you out there face any similar issues? Or can you add anything new to the list? It will be very interesting hearing about some of the challenges you all face regarding study conditions and service delivery at the university or learning institution you study at. Or if you wish, even issues you faced in the past when you were a student can be brought up. Please just bear in mind that we are not here to name or shame any institutions! So please don’t refer to your learning institution by name.

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So start commenting and let the discussion begin.


Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016

P.S remember to check out some of our other posts such as;

Is the internet making university obsolete?

Study tips 

Questions to ask at university open days

How to curb your homesick blues

Edit 16/02/2018: –

I came across a very interesting piece online today, dealing with the exact issues discussed above! It is interesting to see that even in a first world country like Germany, these issues prevail. Although it is an older article (from 2013), to me it is still relevant. If you wish to read it, just follow this link.

(special thanks to Michael Gardner of for writing his article, “Student Welfare Service warns of poor study conditions”, the link to which I have posted above).

Added note as per 16/02/2018

Recently I have received some feedback from a few university lecturers themselves, regarding the article above. The main consensus is that poor service delivery is born out of the fact that instructors feel overworked. The second reason given is that most lecturers feel grossly underpaid, making it hard for them to give their all. How do you  feel about these statements? In your opinion, do they ring true?


Is it even worth it to study further?

worth it to study further? - Main image with words "Is it even worth it to study further?"

Since my last posting regarding passions and fields of study worth pursuing, I did some more thinking. This brought up the question, “is it even worth it to study further?”

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This bothered me quite a bit and so I decided to do some research.

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I made a list of  twenty people whom I know and who have finished some or other level of university training. Some have Bachelor Degrees and/or have Masters Degrees, and others have Doctorates. I decided to have a little chat with each one, and here is what I discovered:

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1. All agreed that they regret the personal time they lost whilst studying. Such as missing out on family events, not being there for loved ones, not having any time for themselves, missing out on their children’s lives, et cetera et cetera. The list goes on and on. When I asked them if they think it was all worthwhile in the end, they all said they were not sure because they can never get that time back, even though they have their degrees now.
2. Most agreed that the modules/subjects they studied have not been of any value in their professions. Now this is something I have experienced as well with education studies. Most of the modules I completed were of no use to me during my relief teaching or practical teaching periods and had absolutely nothing to do with how a real school or classroom functions. Even the methods we were taught to use when doing lesson plans, assessments and curriculum planning were not in use in any of the schools I had been to.
3. Fourteen agreed that the salary they are currently receiving was/is not worth the amount their studies cost them in the end. It is interesting to note that eighteen of the twenty admitted that they are still paying off their studies.

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Okay, so far it would seem like studying is not worthwhile, however when I asked all twenty people what they think the benefits of their studies are/were, I got the following answers:

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1. All mentioned the joy they felt when they finally completed their studies and got to graduate. They likened this feeling to having a child or getting married.
2. All mentioned the sense of accomplishment they feel.
3. All mentioned how much better people treat them since they have graduated.
4. Most agreed that they have found it easier to get employment since graduating.

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This little research exercise helped me a lot and I recommend it to anyone who is in doubt, but who is already leaning towards a “yes” or “no” answer. The only problem is that in my case I have no idea if it is worthwhile for me or not (since the yes/no equation is perfectly 50/50 with me).

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So, the question still remains, “is it even worth it to study further?” Update: See answer here-below (in 2017 update).


Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016

2017 Update
Edit: I have finally found the answer to the question, “Is it worth it to study further?”. It is simple really; each person needs to decide this for him/herself. Yes, it is true that it does help to ask for the opinions of others (as per my exercise above), however, this should only be something you do in order to affirm a choice that YOU yourself have already made. You should never base your decisions on the viewpoints of others. There exists no tailor made ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Take your time and think it through. Ask yourself questions such as:
1. Will a degree help me in my future career of choice?
2. What do I want to gain out of studying further?
3. Do the benefits of a degree outweigh the costs in my opinion?
4. Will I enjoy studying?
5. Will I be able to be dedicated and focused enough during my studies?
6. What are the chances I will want to quit at a later stage?
7. Can I pursue my chosen career without a degree?
Mull your final choice over in your head for a few weeks and then only, once you have reached a final verdict, ask the opinions of others (as I did in the posting/piece above).

Good luck in your choices.


See also:

What are my passions? What should I study?

Life is too short to study the wrong things.