The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon « blog maverick.
At my senate committee meeting yesterday, our group debated about online courses, programs, and learning for nearly 1 1/2 hours. It was very interesting to see and listen to the various perspectives out there on online learning. There were definitely a lot of misconceptions stated, most notably “students take online courses because they are easy” or “students want to take the easy way out” or even “students can’t REALLY learn online”. IMHO, if online courses are done correctly, they can be pedagogically equivalent or even richer than face-to-face learning.
We also discussed the big push for online learning course and modules because of budget issues and constraints. Let’s face it, universities make more money through offering courses online than they do face-to-face. Why is this? It was purported that this was the case because of the extra charges for each student. I don’t buy this though because while $10 per credit hour per student DOES generate extra revenue, it would not make THAT much of a difference for a University. I think the more important thing is the reach of the audience. Simply put, if you offer an online course, you are inevitably going to be able to reach a wider audience than you would face-to-face. As a land grant institution, IMHO I believe that the university should continue to look into and explore pedagogically sound strategies for offering a variety of online courses in order to help reach a wider audience.
I think the other comparisons in this blog post are interesting…will higher education (as we know it) really “go away” and come back as something different? Is that possible?
The student debt is absolutely appalling. As someone who is still paying on their student loans (and I pay ahead!!) 10 years later, I agree that something does need to be done. However, is it really the university’s fault that they are charging more and more for tuition? At our recent university senate meeting, lots of numbers were shared with us, one of which what was the cost to the university for a student to attend. Even after tuition/loans were accounted for, it still cost the university almost $1500 a student. With over 28,000 students a year attending, this number becomes obscene. As a mathematician, this does not even make sense! Can and should universities be making cuts? Absolutely. Where? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it cannot be at the cost of a quality education for the students and the communities we serve.