The use of celebrities to promote causes and political campaigns has been around for some time. It’s nothing new, yet it's a fascinating topic. With the U.S. election just around the corner, celebrities seem to be popping up everywhere endorsing their preferred candidate, speaking out on issues they deem important, and raising money, lots of money, for the campaigns. As Sina mentioned in a previous post, there is not a doubt that celebrities are effective in attracting attention to issues, but as he said “noise is not the same thing as impact.” The level of influence celebrities have on policy-making and affecting change on the ground has long been debated.
In a Washington Post article that Dr. Qasem and I wrote entitled “The Arab Spring of Higher Education,” we spoke of the Amazon model and the eBay model of higher education. Here we elaborate on these two models and talk about what education will look like in the future.
First, let’s look at some US trends in higher education:
- Tuition costs are becoming increasingly unaffordable for college students. President Obama in his Michigan address asked colleges to think of ways to make education cheaper and more accessible. Large capital investments and fixed costs make it difficult for colleges to cut their expenses drastically
- College degrees are unaffordable for many and even so, do not guarantee a job. There is a demand for many prospective students is to learn materials and skills that would help them get a job
- Free availability of multimedia tools, broadband access, differentiated student base, demand for flexibility and modularized education, and technologically empowered end-users has created an environment where a demand for 24/7 education can be fulfilled by individuals or groups of individuals
The media landscape is changing faster than many donors can process. New technologies are forcing change upon business models, regulatory structures, and basic patterns of information access and distribution. Yet how much have efforts to assist independent media really changed as a result?