If we tried simply to improve the wheel, not reinvent it, we would never have had airplanes. That's my first response to this article, which argues we should focus on improving what we already have in universities. This is in response to a book, Academic Transformation: The Forces Reshaping Higher Education, which argues "that Ontario's model for providing undergraduate education, the research-university model, is no longer sustainable. Among the proposed solutions are greater differentiation among existing universities and creating new institutions – both liberal-arts teaching colleges and a distance-learning university." All very well to exercise caution, but the counterproposal - a distance network that connects the existing universities - does little to address the real need, much less address cost and efficiency issues. This lack of imagination in existing institutions is why we have to look outside them.
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