In 21st century America, disruptive technology is all around us. Smartphone apps allow us to summon transportation at the touch of a button, to book accommodations in a stranger’s apartment, to arrange an impromptu dinner party with people we have never met and to navigate our way through unfamiliar cities without the need of a map or compass.
Of course, not everyone is delighted by these miraculous innovations. The people still doing business the old-fashioned way see technology as an existential threat, and are scrambling to find ways to defend their positions — typically through the use of government regulations.
The world of higher education is being disrupted by technology as well, in perhaps a more dramatic way than any other sector of the economy. Thanks to the Internet, the range and accessibility of free educational content has never been greater. Those who want to learn about a subject can now do so from their own homes. And this does not just mean reading page after page of dry, textbook-like material — on the contrary, the web offers no end of immersive, interactive resources for the eager student, all without the necessity of shelling out thousands of dollars for a glorified piece of paper from an accredited institution.