Many years ago, my father (who passed away 30 years ago) told me a joke about a professor who had a class that was too large. In order to accommodate all the students, he separated them into two classes. Being a bit lazy, he decided to tape his lecture for the first class and merely have it played on a tape recorder (consider when this was told to me) tot he second class. Everything seemed to go fine. Then he decided one day to visit the second class. When he entered the classroom, he was astonished: there on the desk in front of the class, was a large tape recorder. And all the students' desks were small tape recorders.

It was good for a laugh then. But with big budget cuts happening, how long will it be before the powers that be try to get rid of a university's biggest expense -- labor -- replacing it with taped lectures? Professors could then be fired or paid a mere royalty rather than a salary with benefits. Certainly this could be done for GE and basic courses so schools could just keep the top people for advanced classes.

Scary thought, eh? Are there any alternatives out there?

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