I was exchanging email with someone about remote education, and found myself typing this at the end of the message:
Aside, just because I thought of it while typing the above. I also find myself in some weird minority that doesn’t give any weight to the whole “college experience” thing. I mean, I loved my college experience, but I also loved going to rock concerts, playing video games, and spending weeks in a foreign country. I’d like for us to seriously consider and design for the college future that will give the best education, and stop conflating it with “that’s where people learn to be independent from their parents and meet their future peers”.
Over the past half year ("Thanks 2020"), I've found myself repeatedly surprised at how much people load onto "College", as the place where you learn to be an adult in a safe environment, etc. It's clear that for many people, there's a whole set of activities beyond the degree that are a core part of what our college system does.
I personally feel it's also why our system has all the problems it does, and I'd like to at least call out the elephant in the room, because it makes it super difficult to discuss how to fix our college system when there are a vast array of unspoken requires that are taboo to challenge.
I personally think we could be offering top-quality education for a lot less if we'd reconsider some of this. The rest of the world does, after all. As near as I can tell, most of the world doesn't have anything like the amenities of American colleges, nor anything like the NCAA. But we can't even discuss it most of the time.