Can a network of learners serve the same roles as a teacher or professors? Revisited

This is my response to Jenny’s post on: I don’t know what I don’t know http://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/i-dont-know-what-i-dont-know/

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for this in-depth analysis on that important question. As mentioned, it is pretty difficult in generalising nowadays, as even situated learning is contingent to the situations.
In network learning:
Is there a teacher needed in a network?
Who are the “teachers” in a network?
Why does one join the network?

Not all scientists like to work in a network, Newton is a typical example. His lecture was not filled with any “student”. He liked to work alone. There are few Newton nowadays.
Even Einstein preferred to conduct research (i.e. on relativity). Isn’t it interesting? Many great philosophers and scientists were lonely researchers and thinkers, and they may not like to be bound by the rules of communities, society, so as to allow their creativity to flourish. Besides, society places higher values to those great educators and research scientists (the Nobel Prize winners in particular). How would one be remembered in history? Individual or collective contribution?
Nowadays, people could only achieve their goals with the co-operation, collaboration and connection with others. One needs “learners” to become a “teacher”. So teachers and learners need to be connected. And it all comes back to the vision (pathfinding) of both learners and teachers.
George and Stephen are leading the way in this course, and they deserve the credits in opening up the avenues towards connectivism.
Is teaching still a noble profession? In a commercial world, is corporate training more important than higher education?