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Out of the classroom

Education experts say putting courses and lecture materials online could make higher education more efficient and lower the cost of college. Yale and MIT already offer lecture and course materials online--for free. Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative has found that, at least for some subjects, a combination of educational software and in-person instruction allows students to not only absorb the same amount of material but to do so in half the time of traditional classroom instruction.

Online learning could allow the best professors to reach students all over the world, reducing higher education institutions' labor costs. Students could complete more coursework on their own time, using software that records and responds to their progress--and gets them to their degrees in less time. Reducing the cost of producing a college graduate, experts say, could slash tuition costs and student loan debt.

What do you think? With the world of work and our social interactions increasingly moving online, is there any downside to moving higher education online as well? 

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