From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
American colleges face what some people are calling a "perfect storm" of problems, college costs are rising, there are not enough jobs for all those completing study programs. Yet employers say they can not find enough workers with technical skills.
One solution may be found in the growing number and quality of online classes, such classes might revolutionize colleges the way the Internet has already changed music, publishing, sales, and other businesses.
"This is pretty amazing." That is David Evans of the University of Virginia, he is teaching a Computer Science class on the Internet.
Many top universities now offer online classes, they teach everything from computer programing to the science of cooking. Many classes are at little or no cost, they are restructured more often than traditional college programs.
That's important to the millions of students who learn technical and other skills from Lynda.com. Lynda Weinman helped to launch the website, she spoke to VOA on skype.
"We can come to market very quickly and we can teach transient skills, so a lot of software is changing constantly and new software is being invented, and those sorts of things cannot easily make their way into college curriculum."
At most colleges, a professor or teaching assistant gives a lecture to students, who then do research, study, and homework alone. Student and bloggers John Haber says online classes change everything around.
"They are watching the lectures at home as homework, recorded lectures, and when they get to class, they are having more active discussions, or interactions with the teachers or working on projects."
John Harber said on skype that he is taking enough online classes to earn a four-year college degree in just one year. Experts say the new technology will have a major effect on colleges. Some predict future classes may be a mix of online lectures and professors helping students work through difficult problems in person.
Georgetown University labor economist Tony Carnevale says he would welcome these changes, he says a college education has to be less costly, and then to skills needed by employers.
"It's really quite clear that more and more people need post-secondary education and training and a lot of them are not getting it. And in cases where they do get it, it doesn't lead to gainful employment. Or it leads to jobs where they don't fully use their talents, and we don't have enough money to buy our way out of this."
Chris Cullen is a college marketing expert, he says competition from online schools, and concerns about costs, will change universities.
"The consumer demands that you tell me why, give me a reason, to believe that my money, my tuition money is best spent at your institution. What is the return on my investment? What is your value proposition?"
Chris Cullen says top universities with strong public images may expand in an online world, but he says less discriminating, less famous schools may struggle to get the interest of students.
And that's the Education Report from VOA Learning English, I'm Avi Arditti.
1.revolutionize vt. 发动革命；彻底改革；宣传革命
The new coal cutter revolutionized the coal industry in the 1980's.
2.transient adj. 短暂的；路过的
Her feeling of depression was transient.
3.post-secondary adj. 中学后；专上程度
Study at the postsecondary level in the United States is demanding for foreign students.
4.discriminating adj. 识别的；有差别的；有识别力的
More discriminating visitors now tend to shun the area.