Are Digital Platforms the Future of Academia? [Vote]

Adam Rowe

Tech.Co has partnered with Arlington Economic Development to bring you this story. 

Supporters of education through digital platforms can point to a host of issues solved by the flexibility and reasonable prices of online education. It helps working adults finish degrees. It can significantly cut down on student debt. Many courses even offer an education totally for free, if not the degree itself.

Yet for many, the stigma surrounding online education—that it's low-quality and opportunistic—still holds strong. Do they have a point? Are some benefits of a class at a physical location completely unique and impossible to replicate online? Or do we just need a VR update to finally get that immersive collegiate experience?

Advise Me

Hopefully, you'll get to see these questions asked at South by Southwest (SXSW) this year: One proposed panel hopes to address the specifics of online education. “Advise Me: Maximizing Digital Platforms” will discuss whether these digital versions of higher education are at the same quality as the physical version, but they'll also chew over the scalability of digital education and whether it ultimately helps students succeed.

The panel is set to feature four guests: Nitzan Pelman, the CEO of ReUp Education; Bart Epstein, the CEO of Jefferson Education at the University of Virginia; Stephen Smith, the president of admissions at Hobsons; and Margaret Chung, the principal of the Arlington Career Center for Arlington County Public Schools.

You Gotta Vote

This instructive panel needs your vote! To cast a ballot in favor of this topic, vote here from now until Friday, September 2. Just register or sign in using your SXSW account, and then hit the “thumbs up” to vote. Tell your friends, too: Every SXSW participant gets one vote, so you'll want to boost your chances of getting a deep dive into the state of digital higher ed.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.