One criticism from the article:
the beginning of a frightening trajectory that will undoubtedly end in the complete implosion of public higher education"
Actually, I believe this is true, but probably not for the same reason they had in mind.
Basically, a University provides two things: First, they presumably impart knowledge to the students. Second, they provide a handsome piece of paper attesting to the fact that the knowledge has been imparted.
When I graduated from college about a hundred years ago, the undergraduate tuition for a state resident was somewhere in the ballpark of a thousand dollars a year, and I actually wrote a check to the university to cover this amount. Part of the money came from a scholarship, some came from family, and some came from my own earnings. But I wrote the actual check every quarter.
When I went to class, there was someone there who actually imparted the knowledge. Some of them did a better job than others, but for the most part, they did an adequate job.
Like most students who wrote a tuition check once per quarter, I actually did a mental calculation at some point, and calculated how many dollars per hour I was actually spending to have the knowledge imparted. When I did this mental calculation, the result was a little bit higher than I would have liked, but at least it was in the right ballpark for the value I thought I was receiving.
These days, prices have gone up a lot. And, as far as I can tell, students are actively discouraged from actually writing a check for tuition once per quarter. This probably makes it less likely that they will do the same "dollars per classroom hour" calculation that I did, although I suspect many of them still do so.
But if the class is given online, then it becomes even more apparent that cost per classroom hour is excessive. After all, in exchange for that money, they're not even providing a desk and chair. And the cost for the lecturer is about the same, whether he has a hundred live students, or a thousand online students.
So if it's all online, it starts to become very apparent that the tuition money is not really going in exchange for having the knowledge imparted. It starts to become apparent that the tuition is really paying for the piece of paper attesting to that fact.
Admittedly, that's a nice little piece of paper to have. But if it gets too expensive, then a lot of potential students are going to figure out that they can get the knowledge elsewhere, at a much lower cost, and then just take their chances with not having the piece of paper.