A virtual classroom with hundreds of thousands of participants who will never meet each other. The professor on a screen or, better still, behind one. Tests graded by other students.
It sounds like a dystopian education nightmare.
But in 2012, the future of the university has arrived. Radical change is in the air.
From the pot bangers of Montreal to high-powered thinkers in Silicon valley, the traditional model of the university is under attack.
The digital revolution - which has upended journalism, publishing, movies and music - is poised to storm the ivory tower. Under enormous financial pressure, and facing a strong push to "democratize" knowledge, the university is being asked to re-imagine itself. In question: the very nature and purpose of higher education, at a time when demand for it has never been greater.
Ira Basen - our virtual frontiersman - peers into the future and explores what's at stake. His documentary is called The Big Disruption: Universities in the Digital Age.
For music used in hour two ...
Another Brick in the Wall (Part two), composed by Roger Waters and performed by Gigi French
Waterbug, composed by Jesse Zubot, performed by Steve Dawson, Jesse Zubot, Marlow Holder and Eliot Polsky