First it was music. Then it was theater. Now it’s … education? Technology has enabled inexpensive reproduction of a wide variety of media, which has in turn radically transformed the structures of a number of industries—and education could be next, writes economist Jodi Beggs for the Huffington Post. Whereas we used to have only concert halls and live theater, we now have CDs, MP3s, DVDs, and movie theaters, and industries that used to consist of a large number of moderate-scale performers are now mainly served by the Brad Pitts and the Lady Gagas of the world. Economists refer to these sorts of industries as “winner-take-all” markets, since their key feature is that a few “superstars” serve a large portion of the market (and often receive astronomical payouts for doing so) while a long tail of similar, somewhat less-qualified or less-talented individuals see comparatively minuscule levels of success. Just like in music and movies, technology makes it possible for a large number of students to be served by what are likely to become “superstar” instructors. Virtual instruction has the potential not only to give a large number of students access to top instructors at lower cost but also to provide the incentives to attract and retain top teaching talent in the first place. Teaching is a very labor-intensive and often thankless profession, and people who are good teachers frequently have skills and talents that help them excel in more lucrative careers as well. The potential to become a “superstar” instructor could give talented teachers a reason to stick around in the education sector and hone their craft…

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About the Author:

Denny Carter

Dennis has covered higher education technology since April 2008, having interviewed some of the most recognized IT pros in U.S. colleges and universities. He is always updating eCampus News with the latest in pressing ed-tech issues, such as the growing i

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