How not to mint more engineers — from by Lynda Weinman

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Let’s tackle the economics of the situation head on — and not based on theory, but on experience. When opened in 1997, it was a physical school that taught web design. We charged $1,500 per person for a single week of instruction. In those days, the world economy was robust and people came from every continent to study with us, enabling our business to grow and thrive. It was a heady time—until 2001, when the dotcom bubble burst and people and companies lost their budgets.

It was scary to witness the sudden demise of a business model that had worked so incredibly well up until then. In response, we could have simply raised our prices, and targeted a much smaller, more elite audience, hoping to keep our doors open. Instead, we did something crazy. We closed our eyes and leapt into something that was, at that time, unproven: We put our lessons online in video format for $25 per month.

While it took a few years to make as much money as the school did, it eventually far surpassed the earning power of the brick and mortar we started with. Instead of serving 80 people or so a week at our physical school, we started serving thousands in the virtual world, and today that number is in the millions every year.

The solution? Take the teachers who are experts and thought leaders and memorialize their lectures and materials via videos and other rich media to share those ideas broadly. Pay them royalties for this, the same as if they published a popular textbook. Leverage in-person class time for projects, collaborations, discussions, reviews, and presentations—the types of activities that are better experienced in person than online.