This is fascinating stuff. Of course, higher ed has been a big money game for a long time, billions and billions of dollars. It has managed to hide a lot of that economic activity under the guise of "non-profit" and budgets that are utterly obfuscating... but billions of dollars are billions of dollars no matter how you label them - the idea that there is now going to be serious commercial competition should not really come as a surprise to anyone (no matter the "sacred" regard some people, esp. faculty, may have for the traditional institutions of higher ed). I worry about lack of awareness on the part of faculty - if you run down the right hand-column in +George Siemens
' very helpful table there and were to ask faculty to summarize their knowledge of and state their opinions about the corporate ventures listed there, I think we would be able to see that we are really in trouble: faculty are not going to be able to provide meaningful input on a topic about which they are poorly informed. If we are going to move beyond the mono-voice that Siemens so accurately characterizes (e.g. The conference was mono-voiced. During the cocktail reception, someone asked me what I thought of the summit so far. I replied “very interesting, some great ideas, but there was a lot of crap that I need to call out and bitch about”. He seemed offended that I could think anything other than puppies, unicorns, meadows, rainbows, and sunshine about such a wonderful event
...), then faculty are going to have to step up to the bat here and realize that what held true for much of the 20th century is not necessarily going to hold true for the 21st. IMHO.