There is an excellent article by a professor of ed tech quoted in JHE. The most interesting points are... "As distance education proliferates, students will invent more ways to obtain their degrees in the shortest possible time with the least amounts of effort and work." "Educators are concerned with the phenomenon of "grade inflation" -- i.e. when students are assigned grades that are higher than what they earn and deserve. Grade inflation appears to occur at practically all levels of education. It is true that grade inflation is a serious problem. However, I see a far more serious problem beginning to occur in education, one that I call "degree inflation," -- i.e. when degrees are conferred on people who have not learned all they should have learned in order to earn their degrees." "Degree inflation will become a widespread phenomenon. Degree inflation will soon grow into the much larger phenomenon of "educational inflation," a situation where even advanced doctoral degrees will not be worth the paper on which they are printed. Society will have to take drastic measures to devalue degrees, much like devaluing monetary units in economies that are plagued by inflation." "Society can act now to prevent degree inflation from becoming a reality by insisting on greater accountability for distance learners and distance education programs. The need for convenience on the part of distance learners should be balanced with the need for academic quality, rigor and integrity in distance education programs. By closely monitoring and guiding the growth of distance education programs, society can prevent the phenomenon of degree inflation from plaguing it in the future."