With iTunes U, Khan Academy, StraighterLine, Udacity and Coursera, higher education is democratized. But there are still something special about colleges education.
After online courses democratize education, students with access to the Internet can learn on a lot of topics from science to social science. College is overpriced and sometimes out of date. By breaking a luxurious 4-year education package into online videos, online courses are more flexible, easier to access, and can be more quickly adapted to the real world. Just pick what you need to learn and start learning, paying little or nothing (such as on Coursera).
But what online courses don't have is a real learning community, people interaction everyday, meeting people, making friends, hanging out and such. Interaction online can hardly simulate the college environment. Here students learn people skills,which is soft skill not hard skill.
Alumni network and soft skills learned from face-to-face interaction are what college should value and stress on.