Ten years from now college might not look too different from the outside—the manicured quads, the football games, the parties—but the learning experience students receive will probably be fundamentally different from the one they get today.

Textbooks. Lecture halls. September-to-spring calendars. Over the next decade, technology may sweep away some of the most basic aspects of a university education and usher in a flood of innovations and changes. Look for online classes that let students learn at their own pace, drawing on materials from schools across the country—not just a single professor and a hefty textbook.

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