The Times, to borrow former executive editor Howell Raines’ favorite phrase, is flooding the zone with its coverage of higher ed’s online future:

  1. “Remember the MOOCs? After Near-Death, They’re Booming” (today)
  2. “The Future of College Is Online, and It’s Cheaper” (yesterday)
  3. “It’s the Year 2120. MasterClass Is the Only School Left” (yesterday)

All three pieces have the same upbeat message: Online learning is the future.

That may well be, but will the system remain non-profit? The resurgent MOOC providers (edX excepted) are venture-backed for-profits. The online degrees offered at traditional universities, the ones at Georgia and Illinois touted in two of the articles, are built atop the for-profit Coursera. So we may, if we’re not careful, swap out more than the classroom when we make the online shift.