It occurred to me the other day that the current changes underway in education are a little like the peppered moth in England in the 17 and 1800s. In the 1700s, before the Industrial Revolution, white peppered moths thrived because they blended into the trees. Black peppered moths, on the other hand, were easily seen by birds and so were much lower in population.
Enter the Industrial Revolution and the burning of coal all over England. The trees became sooted and now, the population of black peppered moth began to thrive and the population of the white peppered moth took a nose dive. In biology this is called natural selection--nature "selects" for survival the species that are most suited to adapt to a particular environment.
It occurred to me that we are seeing a similar shift in college education right now, especially in the online environment. The professor who nature will select tends to be more administratively gifted, one who gives relatively quick feedback and can manage more and more moving parts. This is especially true for online courses.
Relevance is another element. Somehow, a lot of colleges and universities have been able to get by with a frequent focus on truth for its own sake. With the availability of online classes and the rise of community colleges, the stationery "come live here for 4 years" college won't be able to compete unless their greater value is somehow apparent, especially if they remain exorbitantly more expensive.
So the old professor who just lectures and talks about whatever research s/he's doing, of no interest or relevance to the student is a white peppered moth in an Educational Revolution. The ponderous, absent minded professor, the foreign grad student that no one can understand, they're not going to be selected. The deep professor who leaves the student thinking, "It sure sounds like English but I haven't a clue what she's saying"... crow feed.
The college that specializes in the liberal arts, unless they're high end or have other programs to keep that sinking consumer ship afloat... bird prey.