So, I’ve been learning the same stuff as many other Economics students around the world have been learning for the last year. Some teachers are better than others at presenting material. But many of them have been using the same set of questions and answers for years. Most of these questions and answers are freely available to the savvy student. Many of the exam questions are likewise predictable.
This is in many ways a natural consequence of the low cost of sharing information.
It makes it much more difficult to grade students, however.
Let’s take Macro for example. My professer used David Romer’s standard text, which I aquired for free in pdf form, along with a copy of the solutions manual, also in pdf.
Most of my fellow students also had these resources at their disposal.
The professor made the homework assignments 5% of the total grade. This is somewhat trivial, especially considering grade inflation. It provides an incentive to work through the problems, but not too harsh a penalty if you miss an assignment. It also does not provide much incentive to copy the answers by rote from the solutions manual.
But why settle for this arrangement? Why not assign new questions every year as a part of a research agenda?
I predict super-lecturers freely available on you-tube for an expanding array of disciplines, along with super notes available on wikis, etc.
I predict free texts, either professionally finished, or merely professor’s notes in pdf or word docs.
Professors will spend less and less time preparing for class, and more and more time mentoring individual students!!! (This is most likely if education is more privatized) This mentorship will include new research and new questions. Students will be actively adding to the body of knowledge on day 1.
More advanced graduate students will be the real work-horses of this system (as if they were not already), checking the work of their under-classmen, recommending them for new tasks. Employment in research institutions can expand… by expanding the research, duh.
Organization of what to study, creation of new assignments, and dovetailing of multiple assignments into cohesive bodies of knowledge will become the task of full professors / team leaders. Productivity of valueable knowledge will be the measure, as it is, of the best schools/firms.
Just some ramblings, but relevant, especially with the advent of better file-sharing devices and media apparati.