Is Online Learning for Steerage?

My major concern is the increasing standardization of the college experience. In order to make online learning worth the cost of development, institutions must achieve economies of scale so as to spread its costs over a large number of students.  But achieving these economies of scale means losing certain intangible aspects of the classroom environment; indeed, online education makes no room for the interpersonal interactions that are an essential part of an authentic education.

My second concern is that cost-saving technologies will have different consequences for rich and poor institutions and for rich and poor students. Public institutions have faced decreased taxpayer subsidies for years and feel acute pressure to reduce costs through standardization. In contrast, wealthy private universities have little incentive to standardize and cheapen their learning environments.