Collaboration

Four industries about to be transformed by the Internet

The Internet has had a powerful democratizing effect on modern society, and it's far from finished in reshaping industries. Here are the next four.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 6, 2011. It is being republished as part of our 2011 year-end round-up since it was one of the most discussed articles of the year.

It's been 15 years since the Internet became a mainstream phenomenon and began revolutionizing modern life in so many different ways -- from how we find information to how we communicate with other people to how we consume news to to how we buy books and music to how we find a compatible life partner. Along the way, the Internet has completely upended entire industries, killing off or reducing many of the existing power brokers, removing the middle men, and ushering in new leaders -- the digital powerhouses of the 21st century.

Still, it's easy to forget that, from a broader perspective, we're only in the second or third inning of the Internet. There's a lot of transformation that's waiting to happen in the years ahead. In the same way that the Internet has unleashed sweeping changes in newspapers and magazines, music sales, and book sales, there are entire industries that have been only lightly touched so far but are destined to be caught in the eye of the storm eventually. Here are four of them.

1. Movies

The movie industry has been under intense pressure over the past decade as large-screen television sets have come down in price and high definition movies have made the home experience feel more and more like a small movie theater. However, the movie industry has been through this before. The arrival of the television, the VCR, and the DVD were all predicted to kill the movie theater at one point or another, but it never happened for two reasons -- 1.) Going to a movie is an experience where people purposefully want to get out of the house, and 2.) The most anticipated films still show up in the theaters months before they come to pay-per-view, disc, and premium channels. The latter is the most important reason why movie theaters still have such a strong business. It's all about controlling distribution of the content. That's likely to change soon. Hollywood is experimenting with the idea of selling movies directly to consumers at home (streamed over the Internet) at the same time the movies arrive in theaters. Of course, movie studios will charge a higher fee (possibly $30). But, since many families already pay $50 or more to go to the movies and others would rather save time and watch it in the comfort of their own homes, there is definitely consumer demand for direct delivery. Thirty dollars may be too high, but this will happen eventually, and it will likely result in more people watching movies from home than traveling to a theater. Theaters won't go away, but they will likely decrease in number and turn into much more of a premium experience.

2. Healthcare

It's pretty embarrassing that in 2011 we're still talking about automating healthcare. It's an industry that thrives on the latest scientific research and cutting edge equipment to improve people's health, but can't adequately transfer patient information between healthcare providers and remains snowed under an avalanche of inefficient paperwork that drives up costs and wastes time -- at least that's the case in the U.S. However, the U.S. government is trying to push for an electronic medical record (EMR) for everyone in the U.S. by 2014. Although this latest push has already been over two years in the making, the details are still working themselves out and there are some legitimate concerns about it. Nevertheless, the move to electronic medical records -- and a portable EMR that the patient (not the healthcare provider) controls -- is long overdue. And, when it happens, it will not only shift the investment in healthcare dollars away from old processes and products and into a lot more IT systems, but it also has the potential to give patients more ownership of their own healthcare experience, which could have unforeseen consequences for pricing, provider choice, and provider accountability. In short, this is a major industry game-changer waiting to happen, and not just in the ways that the politicians are yapping about (see: Memo to the health care industry: The jig is up).

3. Book publishing

Amazon has completely changed the way most people buy books, and it's done it in two ways. First, it made it fast and easy to buy books online, and at a huge discount. Because of Amazon, book-buying was one of the first things people become comfortable purchasing over the Internet. A big part of that was because Amazon offered deep discounts like the big chain stores, Barnes & Noble and Borders, but carried a much larger selection of obscure titles like many of the independent booksellers. Second, Amazon's Kindle has popularized e-books, which takes the process of delivering paper goods completely out of the equation. Instead, the Kindle delivers electronic files over the Internet to an e-reader, tablet, or smartphone. While this has been a revolution for consumers, the Internet has done very little to revolutionize the publishing process for books. It is still ruled by publishing houses, who serve as the gatekeepers and filters for what gets published and decide which titles deserve the most promotion (and potential sales). However, just as it did for news publishing, the Internet is about to completely democratize the publishing process for books. The combination of e-readers, electronic audiobooks, and print-on-demand have lowered the barriers to entry and made it so that authors no longer need publishing houses. They can take their work straight to the masses -- or, more accurately, straight to their niche audiences, in most cases. This completely changes the economics of book publishing for an author by making it very profitable to sell only 5,000-10,000 books. In the old publishing world, that's about the average for most books and the author makes hardly any money and the publishing house considers it unsuccessful (the big titles are responsible for most of the sales and most of the payments for authors). In the new Internet world, there are going to be a lot more books published (as e-books) and lot more titles to sort through, but it's also going to become a much more democratic process and there will be room for more people to make a living as niche authors. The traditional publishers will morph into promotional agents for the really big titles.

4. Financial payments

It's not that financial transactions have been completely unaffected by the Internet. Stock trading has been totally revolutionized. PayPal and eBay have had a major impact on the peer-to-peer exchange of goods between people and how they pay each other for them. Most people now use online banking to track their accounts, and a lot of them use it to pay their bills. However, the way most people pay for stuff have been largely untouched by the Internet. Most of us still carry a wallet full of plastic cards with magnetic strips in order to connect with a merchant and tell it which account to draw from in order to pay for a purchase. That's about to change, thanks to a combination of smartphones and the mobile Internet. In what is sometimes called the "electronic wallet" or "digital wallet," consumers will soon be able to carry all of their accounts as digital tokens in their smartphones and then interface with a merchant to verify identity (with two-factor authentication) and choose which account to pay from. There are lots of systems and standards that are competing for a way to make this work. Near Field Communications (NFC) is a technology that is designed for this, but it requires new chips that would have to be integrated into all future smartphones. Visa is running digital wallet trials, but they'll want to take their traditional cut of the action. I have to think that both merchants and consumers will look for a way to cut Visa (as well as Mastercard and American Express) out of the picture and find a standard transaction system that can work using existing smartphones, which now make up 40% of all cellphones in the U.S. (and an even higher percentage in parts of Europe and Asia). This phenomenon will also make it easier for small businesses to quickly and inexpensively go into business and be able to accept payments. So again, this is the Internet having another democratizing effect on modern society.

What else?

What other industries are still waiting to be transformed by the Internet? Post your picks in the discussion below.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas that are changing the ways we live and work in the 21st century. He's the co-author of the upcoming book, ...

273 comments
apdobaj
apdobaj

In my view the more compelling question is how can the internet transform industry? All of the initiatives mentioned will be haphazard and destined to be incomplete solutions without a rethinking of how data is organized on the web. That process (commonly known as the semantic web, or web 3.0) is well under way in the EU and the USA needs to get on board. Healthcare data is a prime example. Without well-considered standards for interoperability and machine-readability, the zetabytes of data in the cloud is destined to continue as an unconnected mishmash where expediently finding highly relevant data and trends is akin to finding a needle in a stack of needles. This transformation is long past due and I'm shocked it wasn't mentioned.

dhays
dhays

Checking the pantry and refrigerator yourself? I will not use something like this, nor will I use the smartphone payment, what if I lose my phone? Just like losing a credit card, you are up a creek without a paddle. Too much automation, if you ask me! The machine would not know that we were going out of town for an emergency and it would order a load of groceries and have them delivered with no one home and they would be open to spoil or for theft. You would have to logon to your automated system and shut it down to prevent such, and if you don't?Automation cannot cover all instances. I subscribe to the local paper and I pay for two days a week, yet they offered it to us for seven so we took them up on it. Since my subscription is offically two days a week, the automated hold or stop delivery function will not allow us to stop anything more than we subscribe to, we have to call it in. We pay our bills from paper received in the mail, with a paper check. We do it that way on purpose--we know when the bill was paid, and for what amount. None of this automatically taking it from our accout, at who knows when. We have not signed up for paperless billing for the same reason, we want to see the bill, not have to use our paper to print a copy--like I have to do with my pay stub. With so many places selling groceries--Braum's Ice Cream And Dairy Stores, Walgreen's CVS, Homeland (and other grocery cahins), Sam's, WalMart, Target, 7-11, etc. the rerigerator would overload just trying to figure out where to go. Just about like in Star Trek them telling the computer to calculate Pi to the last digit (there is none-it is an irrational number). We shop at different places saving money or because Homeland doubles coupons--will the fridge do that?

Dumber_z
Dumber_z

"Power in a few hands is dangerous." There are almost 300 million people in the U. S. Only 435 people represent them. The builders of our government suggested one representative for each group of 35,000 citizens or so. I suggest we revert to a representation level of ~50,000 per representative. This would provide something in the neighborhood of 8,000 representatives. Each representative would almost know each of the people they represent personally. They could not help but be more attuned to the needs of their district and the opinions of their people. Trouble is the House cannot hold 8,000 people but the internet could make them relevant. I have confidence that proper security can be obtained so all people can have a say in our government and not just the lobbyist.The Representative stays at home where his/her influence is by the people, in the respective district, is always in the forefront A spinoff from this could very well be the ability of citizens to vote in national elections, etc., by internet. Perhaps voting twice, once by internet, and once by established methods for comparison in the beginning. Physical presence in the House could be by rotation, e. g.

MilliCorpRyan
MilliCorpRyan

Most phone calls don't travel over telephone lines anymore, they get routed to a server and sent through the intent. That's what we here at Millicorp do and that's that the big telephone companies like AT&t and Verizon do. cheers!

jayohem
jayohem

This is one of those out-of-the-box ideas (like flying cars) that we really don't need. A nice tablet on the front door with a built-in list of grocery staples would fit the bill. As supplies got low you'd tap the item and on grocery shopping day someone (you if you live alone) would tap a G-List key, which would xfr the info to your smart device. (Worst case scenario it would e-mail it to you computer because that's the only smart device in the house.) The only other smart refrigerator device would be a Rosie the Robot type invention that cleaned the refrigerator and the rest of the kitchen for that matter.

jayohem
jayohem

All this power consumption and utlization means somebody has to traverse the hinterland laying cable, erecting towers, planting microtransmitters. Already the change has been for the various telephone and tele-this 'n' that workers to replace copper line with fiber-optic cable. (Let's hope there's never a black market for that!) Networks will have to be solarized. Let's not let our friends in the WestPac area get ALL the business. Solar companies shouldn't be failing here. IT security will be even more important what with those virtual mainframes known as clouds storing information not to mention devices that can scan info five feet away from you and your bank/credit/debit/smartID card. Now, if someone can figure a way to get the friendly folks at your local area airport to stop trying to get grandma to disrobe down to her shift and take out her upper plate we'll have a genuine first for 21st century technology.

markpowers80
markpowers80

Sorry, I do not trust AT&T to handle my finances. You think that Visa wants a cut? Ha! Just wait until Ma Bell is in charge. At least the credit card companies can handle someone stealing my credit card. I know too many people that paid false phone bills because AT&T had cut off their phone service! No thanks! John Dvorak is right.

sivak
sivak

The age old habit of reading news papers every morning could also change due to internet. digitised newspapers that can be read aloud is needed to help people who are driving or cant read due to eye strain or eye problems, available in a language of their choice...eventually this can move to text book reading, course material reading , lectures etc..

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I suspect that software program writing like Paint Shop Pro is done with the same click a box in method.I don't like it that you need a copy of the Windows install on your hard drive to build an OS.I think that all of the stuff to make the OS installable to the hard drive is blocked.

DJMorais
DJMorais

It amazes me how so many people are willing to just give up all of their freedom and stop using their brains in the name of convenience. How lazy we have become! I don't need a darned app to tell me what to place in my cupboards, refrigerator or anthing else. We sit around our dinner tables and grouse about how there are no jobs any longer, and how the government and greedy corporations have screwed us over. And yet here we are ready to destroy more jobs and weaken the economy even more by playing right into their hands by giving into all of this automation and techniology. I like the fact that I can still go into my local bank and have a pleasant conversation with my teller, the grocer, that friendly retail clerk, etc. More human contact is what we need, folks; not more faceless automation. You put your personal information, your credit cards, your whole financial history out in the wild and then express outrage when that data is stolen. Internet security is a joke. We all know this, and yet people just throw their whole existence out there online anyway. We need to stop and think about this before it's too late. Heck, it may be already for some...

Kinetixx
Kinetixx

It???s widely known that e-mail is being used as evidence in court cases to convict hackers, software moguls and corporate executives of various wrongdoings. We also know that our health insurance providers are using data provided by healthcare providers to monitor health conditions. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teen, so i get regular alerts from them to remind me of how to control it. I can imagine a future when my refrigerator will 'confer' with my insurance company and alert them if i purchase a food item the insurance company deems unhealthy, or my electronic wallet 'refuses' to purchase a soda. As much as i love technology, there is a limit to how much privacy i am willing to relinquish.

steve.hammill
steve.hammill

*** remains snowed under an avalanche of inefficient paperwork that drives up costs and wastes time That's working as designed. To a patient, that paperwork serves to conceal double-billing and billing for services never delivered. I've discovered several cases of double-billing and billing for services never delivered in my bills for a summer in the hospital. The most annoying of the billing for services never delivered is a $454 bedside doctor's visit while you're so doped up on morphine you haven't a clue who is in the room. At the least, the docs should need to sign a visitor's log so that when paying the bills the patient can correlate billing for actual visits. Of course, I was happy to wake up alive and happy when I could have a little dance with my wife for our anniversary...then I started paying the doctor's bills ;)

bruno_ann
bruno_ann

Forget the smart refrigerator. What I'd value highly is being able to walk into a grocery store with my shopping list (auto-populated by my meal planning app), and get an alarm or something as I'm walking by any item on the list. Imagine the savings in time and frustration!

squirrelpie0
squirrelpie0

I need an app that will automate my visits to the coffee shop everyday. This will include a heads up display on my glasses that is location and time sensitive. It will tell me the weather, not to forget my post office keys, change, and of course an alarm telling me when to go, and when to go home. It will also display the latest new when I'm at the debating table so I can educate, correct and criticize my coffee drinking peers. It will keep track of my number of refills and provide me with tantalizing gossip and political lies ( I guess 'political lies' is redundant). My list of errands will direct me to appropriate stops on the way home, again setting off alarms id I stray of course or miss an item. Currently my wife has to carry out all these tasks and it's hard on her temper and her tongue. Now where are my anti-paranoia pills and OMIGAWD, I 've forgot to put on my underwear!

&ltDTECH;
&ltDTECH;

alot of advertising has been opened since the dawn of the internet, which has really increarsed production in many areas of life....take a look at all the shopping sites out there...a broder line of informational resources has been opened to people world wide, most, most importantly students....the internet has even replaced most of the post offices around the world.

fitzpat_e
fitzpat_e

Controling power consumption using SMART meters which will not only inform us where we are wasting energy put automatically switching things on and off at optimum times.

Hauck41
Hauck41

With the imminent degradation of U.S. post office first class mail service, the time is ripe for UPS or FedEx to offer a service where a message can be sent that gets printed out at an office near the recipient's address, authenticated as to sender, and electronically signed, if necessary, and hand-delivered to the recipient with proof of delivery returned to the sender. This could bring overnight delivery for probably not more than double the existing first class rate.

David.villacis
David.villacis

You guys make me hungry, talking about a robotic refrigerator. What about insurance, would you buy all types of insurance only on line? Or still going through an intermediary or a broker? Brokers are out there by the thousands

koebelin
koebelin

I see a future soon of being able to know everything about the circulation and use of water resources in the home. Automatic flushing toilet and urinals have been a success story since you no later have to touch unspeakably germ-infested flush handles in public places. But with the new sensing technologies. smart plumbing is on the way. Using flow detection coupled with wireless devices all water outlets in the home can be monitored for usage in real-time with web presentation, and smart septic systems will be able to capture information about the materials entering the system and have it remotely evaluated using fecal and urine analysis biotech, and track the chemical balance in the septic tank, report and respond with smart bacteria and nanobots to maintain maximum decompositional environments. Is this conceivably a possible porthole for invasions of privacy if somebody can hack into your pipes and download information about what you have been flushing down your toilet? Yes, perhaps what happens in the toilet should stay in the toilet - but I predict once again we will willingly give away our privacy in exchange for the benefits of being wired; we already all carry electronic bracelets called smart phones that track us 24/7 and apparently spy on our usage more than we know, according to recent news about stealth tracking apps installed without our knowledge.

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

After reading about the carrier IQ rootkit who would trust financial information on their cell phone? What's worse is the straight face lies by the software maker. It has been proven that the software records and reports back every keystroke on your device, but they tell us all they do is track call quality and it is only done for our own benefit. Until the phone companies get reigned in I would not put anything that I really want to keep private on my cell phone.

m.secenj
m.secenj

E. M. Forster wrote a science fiction short story called "The Machine Stops". Read it.

jaehn_barbara
jaehn_barbara

I have a better method- as I purchase, prepare and enjoy food with my friends and family I- take note of what was consumed with gusto versus practicality; subconsiously delete my refridgerator stock; note any 'hankerin's'; note any upcoming events or holidays; consider the season; consider what's in stock; consider what's worth the price requested; make a choice. It might sound like a lot when its listed out (and I could continue...) but the fact is this occurs without conscious effort. Why would I purchase electronic devices to track my food consumption when my mind can do these computations effortlessly? Just another goo-ga...let's go to Mars instead!

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

As I scanned this article it seemed familiar, then it hit me - this article came out in September, why is it now being "re-published" with a Dec 5th date? This is the second time I have noticed TR regurgitating old content with a new date. Very dissapointing...

tom.norman
tom.norman

If it has to do with information, it will associate with the Internet.

rjfandre
rjfandre

As our population lives longer and age related ills affect more, particularly the rise in dementia, monitoring our state will provide the solution to expensive care costs. Already there are web linked monitors that can report inactivity which may indicate a fall or collapse. As the technology to monitor our vital signs improves we are able to allow infirm and aged people to live independently for longer. The residential care home will become history and we will all benefit from more choice in how we are cared for. in the UK our NHS will make these benefits available to all. Presumably in USA it will still be only the wealthy who can have choices.

Cloudberry22
Cloudberry22

There is no mention for Corporate IT as one of the industries that is being transformed

PRSandford
PRSandford

When I had a minor operation twenty eight years ago, I was shocked that the surgeon did not have details electronically available of what had been agreed at the pre-operation consultation. I only got what had been agreed - local anaesthetic - because I had had a cup of tea before going to hospital. My records were lost when I moved home in 1988. Electronic records long overdue - I think so!

f1assistance
f1assistance

Why is it necessary to politicize a technology article with images of socialism (fist) then calling it the democratizing effect on modern society? This is pure misinformation. Shame on you!

Nahres
Nahres

The face of education will change. Interactive online learning was just the start. I think collaborative learning and peer support is next. Apollo Group (Univesity of Phoenix Online) makes the world's # 1 or # 2 in terms of revenue. The catch: they provide courses that working-people can attend anywehere in the world. The Internet shall transform instruction, learning, research, assessment, and accreditation.

mark16_15
mark16_15

When I went to college 40 years ago, most of the introductory courses took place in an auditorium with from 300 to 800 students. Since then, little has changed. Sure there are online courses, but most universities still do it the old way and online study is either a supplement or a second rate choice. At least in the case of lectures where students just sit in a large hall and listen and take notes, this could be done much more efficiently if the lecturer records the lecture and the students could view them online. This would be more effective in many ways. The students could review anything they may have missed or not fully understood the first time. Illness wouldn't result in missing a class. The student can spend as much time as needed to get it right. The lecturer would be free to offer more personalized help to the students. Of course, this shouldn't be used in place of small classes where interaction is an integral part of the education process.

twainiqolo
twainiqolo

How about students learn from home through internet video conferencing and connect to online University libraries for resource materials. Endless opportunities for education

pivert
pivert

How many "middle men" will lose their job? So goodbye: librarians, movie theaters, insurance people, radiostations, printing industry, supermarkets, doctors assistants, administration,... and hello DHL. Although DHL seems to feel the pressure from 3d-printing... We are all focusing on micro steps like a new iPhone, htms5 but in 5 years from now, some people will have a lot of time to read e-books, watch e-movies, talk to e-buddies. That is: if they have the cash. Another scenario could be that local "industries" like small scale manufacturing will start to flourish. Nope, not hopeful at all...

miauwington
miauwington

The logistics sector is also gonna change quite a lot (and already has). ex. trucks scheduling their own maintenance, very precise tracking abilities, etc.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Doctors just hate computers and people working with them. Don't ask me why, but that's just how it is.

comartin
comartin

I don't think you are going wide enough on this, getting movies and books on demand is old news it is really all content on demand, books, magazines, TV programs and movies. Look at services like Hulu, this is making the DVR and Blu-ray obsolete, and has significant implications for TV channels and cable companies funding and business models. The magazine and newspaper business models are also in a state of flux, no need to print and mail, just deliver via the Internet to the tablet of choice. The most worrying aspect is the old school trying to protect their old out of date business models via legislation.

tavent
tavent

if you are going to go that far, you might as well have a zebra stripe reader on the fridge and ALSO on your cuboards or pantry; food goods do not always need to be refrigerated. I would be happy enough just having those devices produce a shopping list and upload it to my hand-held so I can take it to the store and have it already know what I need.

rickzjhn
rickzjhn

why its isnt included? i guess Education is very important to each one of us.

jayohem
jayohem

Gorilla Glass turned out to be a very popular product for Corning Glass, which aoubt 15-20 years ago sold its consumer products division. At the same time the son of Pyrex products, made of sodium silicate vs. borosilicate glass are cracking and breaking all over the place. As Gorilla Glass is part of mobile phones and therefore I-net related, perhaps the profits it makes will convince Corning, Inc. to spend a bit and bring back some other consumer products. They can always sell them on line themselves or through a third party. It's another way to bring good quality goods manufacturing back to America. See A Day Made in Glass. If they can do all this, they can make consumer products as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

Professor8
Professor8

Fly to Florida, have the work done there, and recuperate on the beach. Much safer than Egypt or Kali-fornia.

Professor8
Professor8

"the U.S. government is trying to push for an electronic medical record (EMR) for everyone in the U.S. by 2014" This falls into the category of evil, wicked, mean and nasty violation of professional ethics.

GiorgosP
GiorgosP

We can't really blame the evolution of technology for having no job. As far as I know, machines replace humans to save them from performing tedious, dangerous and unhealthy tasks. Tasks that no one would want to do, if he or she had the choice. If technology is the reason why there are no jobs anymore, then maybe it's time to rethink our economy, taking technological change into account. Machines don't get paid. In a world driven by computers, we could easily make the same amount of money working 90% less. It's just our system that's flawed.

Bduffel
Bduffel

but I love it! so? Are you saying, i could hack into the system an via my smart app use a remote "kill" button for the shower?! tehehe...I can hear it now....M OOOOOOOOO MMMMM...there's NOOOOO hot water!!!!! and, I get to reply, "okay, sweetie, I'll give you 2 more minutes out of your monthly hot water/energy allotment and that's it!"...oh! and since I own the app, I could make sure that there will always actually be hot water for my nice long HOT bubble bath....teheeee...ohhhh, I'm thinking I could trade household chores for more shower minutes...this concept is working for me! any other parents of teenage girls catching the vision?

charlie.wiese
charlie.wiese

When you 'scan', you have the potential to miss important information -- in this case, the Editor's Note at the beginning of the article: Editor???s note: This article was originally published on September 6, 2011. It is being republished as part of our 2011 year-end round-up since it was one of the most discussed articles of the year.

spdragoo
spdragoo

Our local community college offers "traditional", "web-only" & "hybrid" courses for their classes -- regular & "developmental" class (i.e. pre-algebra). The "web" course students do all of their coursework online, although they take their tests in the on-campus testing center. The "hybrid" students in a 5-credit-hour course, for example, have a 1-hour class each week for tests & review, with the rest of it done online. Surprisingly -- or perhaps not so much -- the passing rates for the web & hybrid courses are [b]not[/b] higher than the "traditional" courses. If anything, after reviewing their statistics for student pass rates, they've found that it's not the style of course that makes a difference... it's when the students registered for the courses. For example, let's say for their pre-algebra course they had 15 traditional, 10 web, and 10 hybrid courses available. The traditionals & web filled up first, with the hybrids picking up the stragglers. No matter which type of course was taken, however, the students that signed up for the first available section of each type did better than the students in later sections. The drop-off for web classes, however, was much steeper than for traditional classes... & the drop-off for hybrids was even worse. Why does it happen? First, the students that gravitate towards the web-only classes aren't choosing them because they're motivated; they think that, since they only have to be on campus 3 times in the quarter (2 midterms & the final), that it will be "easier" than a regular classroom. Never mind that you need extra motivation to make sure that you learn & understand the material, let alone remember to turn all of your assignments in without the face-to-face reminder from the teacher. And even though the hybrid courses at least include some face-to-face time, the fact that they're primarily filled with students that put off registering until the other class types were already filled means that those students probably don't have the extra motivation needed to do the "independent study" work. Remember, this isn't high school, where "independent study" is used because you've proven your ability to work on your assignments without the teacher prodding you along; nor is it like graduate school, where the nature of the advanced degree you're pursuing requires you to demonstate individual initiative in your field. These are [b]basic[/b] college courses, and the transcript only identifies the course as "Class ZZZ"; from the college's perspective, there's no difference in filling a prerequisite by passing the "web" course vs. passing the "traditional" course, because the same material is taught. They don't have extra requirements (i.e. minimum GPA), not only because so many of the courses are the first ones you take (hard to have a GPA if you haven't taken courses at the college yet), but also because the college's mandate (being a state-run college) doesn't allow them to treat the classes differently. So sure, by all means, go ahead & go to exclusively web-based learning... just don't be surprised when you see larger numbers of students failing than before, because the teacher isn't able to motivate the students as easily via email as they can in person. Online courses work best as either stop-gap measures for schools & universities dealing with overcrowded classrooms, or for students that can demonstrate above-average initiative to complete the work without personal interaction with the teacher... but they're not a "silver bullet" to improve education.

guy
guy

My "first" GP started his practice 25 years ago (I was one of his first patients) and has always kept digital records of his patients. My current GP and his partners (about 20 of them) run their medical centre on PCs and dedicated software. A specialist I went to recently has his entire practice running on MACs. Now if I only could just get all that information from all the doctors I've been to over the past 50 years and put it into one place, I'd be able to control my own medical history.

hulyalkar
hulyalkar

Yes absolutely, of course there are notable exceptions

spdragoo
spdragoo

First off, Hulu's library is not all-inclusive. Sea Patrol (aka "Australian Warship", according to my wife), for example, just wrapped up its fifth & final season this year. However, Hulu [b]only[/b] has Season 1 available... & has never shown any sign of increasing the episode availability. So, even assuming you ponied up the money for the Hulu Plus membership, you still couldn't access the "full" show. Hulu is great for those of us that would prefer to watch a broadcast (or some cable) shows when it's convenient for us, without the need for an expensive DVR (or to find an inexpensive VCR & hard-to-find VHS "junk" tapes). But once we've seen an episode, we don't necessarily need to watch it again... & if it's such a great show that I want to have access to it whenever I want, I'll buy a DVD of the season so that I can watch it even when the Internet isn't working... or when I'd like to watch it while sitting on the far more comfy couch in the living room.

yooper
yooper

And as crazy as it sounds today, 10 - 20 years from now, all newborn babies will be required to have a tracking device implanted at birth. Like I said, It sounds implausible, but it will be done with the intention that if the child is abducted the police will be able to locate it and slowly people will be of the mindset, you know, this isn't such a bad idea after all, thus it begin.

koebelin
koebelin

Control water flow and temperature from your smart device from work while the kid is home wasting your money over-showering, Also useful is analyzing urine waste remotely, although that may make your kid want to pee in the bushes.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

I missed that.... and judging from the continued lively comments other people enjoy furher discussing the topic.

Editor's Picks