'Lock-in': the phenomenon whereby a promising innovation becomes the basis of a sprawling system, remaining in place long after its limitations have become a dangerous liability. Is there a more egregious contemporary example of lock-in than the traditional university? Its implicit promise is this: study hard and you will succeed – in school and beyond. Yet, for an ever-growing number of recent college graduates, this promise has turned out empty. With college tuition and student loan debts skyrocketing while the job market continues to stagnate, many Americans are hungry for better alternatives, yet fearful of leaving the tried-and-true path. Could online education be the answer? Lifelong, on-the-job training? A return to apprenticeship? This series – Storming the Ivory Tower – will examine these and other questions in an attempt to index the most promising ways forward.