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After a visit this week to Stanford's D-School as part of an IAB field trip, I read Ken Auletta's long piece on Stanford and its relationship to Silicon Valley, and, in particular to venture capital firms. While raising serious ethical questions about Stanford's President's ties to business, Auletta's piece veers off to look at online education as the next frontier:

",,,The publishing industry has suffered in recent years, the argument goes, because reading on screens is more convenient. Why wait in line at a store when there’s Amazon? Why pay for a travel agent when there’s Expedia? The same argument can be applied to online education. An online syllabus could reach many more students, and reduce tuition charges and eliminate room and board. Students in an online university could take any course whenever they wanted, and wouldn’t have to waste time bicycling to class.

But online education might also disrupt everything that distinguishes Stanford. Could a student on a video prompter have coffee with a venture capitalist? Could one become a T-student through Web chat? Stanford has been aligned with Silicon Valley and its culture of disruption. Now Hennessy [Stanford's President] and Stanford have to seriously contemplate whether more efficiency is synonymous with a better education."

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