Is this the future of online education?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by me again, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. me again

    me again Well-Known Member


    Click here for the full story.

    Will that be paper or plastic? :eek:
  2. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    And at $4950 total program tuition for a MSEd in Theory & Practice, why would the student care what the cut is between Arkansas State and Higher Ed Holdings?
  3. gonenomad

    gonenomad New Member

    The Wal-Mart approach to distance education?

    $4950 is a bargain for an accedited masters degree. It appears that the company is focusing on automating the process of delivering and assessing content. However, it seems that there are a few things that one would have to give up. A graduate degree is about learning how to think. Being able to apply prior knowledge to new situations, solve problems, etc. In many cases graduate students wrestle with questions that do not have straightforward answers. How can a computer grade an assignment if there is no "correct" answer?
  4. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    That's interesting and it makes you wonder how much the coaches get paid. It also makes me wonder how long it'll be before we see the launch of the $5K MBA and how other for profits will respond.

    Interesting times.
  5. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    I wouldn't be surprised if the coaches are in India or somewhere where education is decent but costs are very low.

    Is anyone else concerned about how the quality of interaction (and therefore education) suffers through this sort of commodification?

    If the goal of higher education is truly a depth of understanding, one can argue that the assignments are taking care of that, and if the professors at the school are still having in-depth interactions with students, providing feedback, stimulating thought, then cutting corners on assessment doesn't seem like a terrible thing, as long as the assessment itself remains a vaild measure of whether a student is learning. But I would be very concerned that, over time, both the assessment and interaction would be reduced to a more mechanical process, and that will, I think, have a severe impact on the quality of the education.

    I'm particularly surprised the regional accreditor involved hasn't expressed an opinion on this practice, either from the viewpoint of education or financial viability.
  6. Henry White

    Henry White New Member

    As a consumer, I like the variety of choices available - and, reading these and similar online forums, I can only conclude that most people are primarily interested in the best trade-offs for the price.

    However, as a producer also, I really spewed coffee all over the monitor and keyboard reading the absurd numbers - like $3500 for 'developing courses' or 'teaching' with a grand to the associate dean and department chair (at Arkansas State). That's significantly higher than the norm I've read about in other forums.

    And let's take a closer look at that alleged student load for 'coaches' compared to what the traditional B&M students can reasonably expect one-on-one with their professors or even TAs!

    Clearly, academics are threatened by any change that disrupts their 19th century concepts of sage on the stage, seat-time, and most of all that their have some divine monopoly over education. Tenure track positions have recently become an endangered species, and way too many non-tenture track positions have been increasingly going to adjuncts to meet tighter budgets and increased competition.
  7. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    What a wild thing. I found this link discussing it:

    Looks like some people don't like the set up at all.

    With programs like this on the rise, you can believe the only 'real' education soon to be left will be the programs validated somehow by an external experience. Whether it be a licensing exam or some other process, if your profession doesn't have one, programs like this will render all degrees meaningless in time.
  8. Woho

    Woho New Member

    I would say that the online University market is forced to the same developments than real world service providers. They either compete over the price or they provide a really compelling differentiation over their competitors.
  9. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I suppose then that for the greater good it would be okay to allow the university to close its doors and fire the faculty due to low enrollments, or they could go on the government dole and suckle at the ever shrinking taxpayer teet...

    Personally I see an innovative capitalist solution to a market demand solving a real problem. I've got no problem with it, but then what do I know, I'm not an academic nor do I play one on TV.
  10. Henry White

    Henry White New Member

    Absolutely not! If we're going to shut anything down to save a few shekels, let's start with the federales and K-12!

    The entreprenuerial model definitely works. Charter schools and vouchers have proven that - in the few places across the country that have been able to override the hysteria and gloom-and-doom nonsense from the teachers' unions.

    However, academics are right about freedom to pursue research that isn't popular and doesn't have any potential 'profit' on radar. (Carl Sagan effectively dealt with that issue in 'Contact,' and if you know anything about scientific breakthroughs and innovations you have to acknowledge that a disproportionate percentage of them are pure serendipity, not the predicted result of x-number of years or dollars.)
  11. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Good point!!! You hit the nail on the head!!! And it's very insightful of you!!!
  12. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The article was not written for students because they don't care: they're primarily interesting in getting a degree for the lowest cost in the quickest time. The article was written primarily for executives, professors, adjunct professors, university administrators and profiteers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2009
  13. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Perhaps I'm missing something here, but what is the difference between this and how most for-profit schools provide their education? If it is effective, the student is learning and it is provided at a reasonable cost, I have no problem with that.
  14. Henry White

    Henry White New Member

    It is largely a turf war with administration wanting to outsource, faculty pitching a hissy-fit, and those mean, old, nasty profit-oriented entrepreneurs providing an affordable service.
  15. 2peaches2oranges

    2peaches2oranges New Member

    I am the OP from the ProTeacher thread

    I have been trying to get someone enrolled in the HEH programs to share their experiences.

    I think most of the experiences have been good from what I have read on that thread. There is some panic with a change in the internship and portfolio, but that can be worked out hopefully. So, not perfect, but what is??

    These programs are for teachers who have a professional teaching certificate (meaning they have been teaching several years) and if you know how many hours really go into teaching, then you would understand the need for quick and cheap, especially if you are teaching in a state that REQUIRES you to get a Masters to continue teaching.

    The degree fills a need that is there, teachers are jumping at it (possibly me included -- I am at the application stage) and the growing pains are being felt now as the first class is getting ready to finish the last three courses.

    The schools are accredited and if it does not work for you, then transfer the credit to another school's program and we move on right!?!?!?
  16. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    Sorry to hijack: Kizmet - check pm's right away
  17. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Hey! Just a few days ago I got blasted by one of our esteemed members for expressing some hesitation/skepticism about a private company that provides these services for a bunch of British universities. My concern was not specifically about the for-profit motive of such a company because I personally believe that a for-profit university can deliver a sound education. My concern was that this "middleman" does not have the same motivation as the school itself. If the product is found to be poor the for-profit middleman melts away, changes it's name, etc. It is the school that is left with the stain of a bad reputation. When disgruntled students retell their sad stories, no one will remember the name of the middleman, they'll only remember the name of the school.
  18. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Go for it!

  19. Henry White

    Henry White New Member

    While that's true, none of this happens in a vacuum. The school's reputation is riding on it, of course, but how this any different from any other vetting of new courses and new faculty?
  20. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    So, in other words, what is being framed by the faculty as a quality issue is really a labor issue.

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