It makes sense that for-profit institutions like Google, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles or even Starbucks, begin to consider applying for university accreditation, and offering degrees of their own. Clearly, well-run for-profits are vastly more economically efficient than any non-profit college or university. The efficiency is a consequence of following the basic economic principle that an informed consumer will always purchase the best value for the least money. I, like most parents, would happily send my children to Google University if I knew they would learn more there than at a higher priced university. (...)
Google could escape the tenure trap by not hiring any faculty at all. Instead of hiring the faculty themselves, institutions like Google could simply purchase a vast library of taped, high quality, lectures given by academic super stars or other top performing teachers who are willing to sell series of their lectures (perhaps even receiving residuals if they really rock!). These professors would operate as free agents in a digital world of Professors Without Borders. (...)
Google University (...) would not only reduce the cost of education to students, the competition between professors to produce the best lectures would create vastly superior lectures, and the competition between for-profit institutions in order to attract students would produce vastly better outcomes for students, and therefore would even help American corporations, like Google itself, who need highly competent employees.
James suggests that YouTube could be a good platform for distributing lectures and other Google tools could make learning much more efficient. Google Books and Google Scholar could be a universal library, Google Groups and Google Talk - a way to communicate, Google Docs - a platform for online assignments.