Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On-Line Univeristy

During the State of the Union, the President commented that the United States has fallen to 9th place in terms of undergraduate degree holders,and he made several references to China and South Korea, indicating these are our competitors.

So I did a little fact checking. In fact this statistic is a bit off. We have fallen to 9th place compared to OECD countries, i.e industrialized nations. Neither China nor South Korea are in the OECD. That doesn't mean we shouldn't look at what these nations do to pick up on good ideas. But the comparison is unfair and inaccurate. It plants the idea, although in very diplomatic terms, that we should watch out for the "Yellow Peril".

Furthermore, when you adjust Elementary & High School test statistics for poverty (i.e dump the test scores of kids on school lunch programs and special assistance) the U.S. suddenly ranks much higher.

According to the is Census in 2009, 49.1% of the U.S. population has an AA degree of higher. According to the OECD in 2007 45% of 25-64 year-olds had and AA (upper Secondary) or higher. This puts us in 12th place among OECD nations. But it represents about a 4% drop since 1997.

My employer pays for many of its employees to get BA, MA, and PhDs in fields related to it's mission. This is a great, but many of the schools are on-line schools like University of Phoenix, Chapman, etc. The people going to the local CSU are taking several years to complete their degrees because the class loads, assignments and the like are heavy enough that they can't take more than one or two classes a semester. The people going to Chapman are done in a year. That is a huge difference, and I am not convinced it's a good one. The end result is not the same. The CSU grad is much more professionally prepared than the others who are doing the "resume-building" degrees.

So many universities are offering on-line programs for primary degrees that this frightens me. I can see running an Executive Program On-line because the students often have work experience in the field and university degrees from reputable programs. But I worry about the quality of education being offered for higher degrees. I know that these universities offering on-line degrees are money makers and that they make education more available to more people. But I ask the Citizens, is this really a good idea? Is it "education on the cheap" so to speak?

You still need the professor and the classroom time where critical thinking and discussion can take place. I don't think that a blog or Web cam discussion can really replace that. I read a lot of stuff in college that without a classroom discussion or lecture, I wouldn't have understood. The best schools are still offering that. Or am I just old fashioned?


The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm convinced that these online or for-profit schools are little more than scams designed to misappropriate taxpayer money in the form of student loans that are almost never repaid.

Raised By Republicans said...

I completely agree with LTG. I would also add that the US Department of Education is currently trying to crack down on these for-profit online companies (I don't want to call them universities).

The quality of the educational product of these companies can be seen in the shockingly high student loan default rate among their graduates. The market has spoken and it has said that a degree from these companies is not employable.

(minor quibble: South Korea joined the OECD in 1996).,2987,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html