Facts about education

Here is one:

In 2003, the first year the Babson group and Sloan-C conducted the survey, 57 percent of academic leaders estimated that learning outcomes in online courses were equal or superior to those of face-to-face courses. This year, the figure was 67 percent.

From Peter Orszag, writing about budgetary pressures, here is another:

Some admittedly imperfect indicators suggest the quality of public higher education is already fading. For example, in 1987, both UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan were included in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the top 10 universities. By this year, there were no public universities in the top 10 — and UC Berkeley, the top-ranked public school, had fallen from fifth to 21st.

Put these two facts together, and what is your prediction?

Comments

Public universities will try to ban, or inhibit the use of, online courses.

Public universities can't ban them all. This cool little site just launched yesterday.
teamtreehouse.com
If you read the hackernews announcement the founder Ryan Carson says that he is partnering with other business (Wordpress/Automattic, Living Social, and BankSimple) to hire people who unlock certain badges on the site.
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3206991
These kind of upstarts just might take off. And $25 a month is a lot cheaper than any public university I can think of.

Especially public university instructor unions, like at Berkeley?

Hahaaa!!! Brilliant!

I am studying for two degrees via distance education, an MA in Philosophy and a BSc in Development & Economics.
Especially as a mature student (I am 36 and a lawyer), I find it much more focused. Sure, I sometimes miss sitting in a class with hot girls, but overall i think I waste much less time than i did when I studied at a "normal" university.

I submit that this is because you're older now, and not because it's online.

What program are you studying through?

I would be astonished if online courses *actually* produced the same or better outcomes as face-to-face classes when dealing with the standard student body. (I've noticed teachers of all stripes tend to base their intuition about many aspects of teaching on the stronger students.) I strongly suspect that the strong majority of students cannot make put in sufficient intellectual effort to learn if they aren't directly involved with a human being putting in effort to teach, although I think online components as a adjunct to face-to-face might well be valuable.

It's always been possible to educate yourself with a good library and some office hours - I'd guess that fewer than 5% of the full student body actually can. With on-line courses, it's even tougher - the computer is the primary entertainment device for a large number of students. It's like asking someone to diet in a room full of desserts.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing some randomized blind trials results with face-to-face vs. on-line. Perhaps I am wrong and online instruction has improved enough that the average student will benefit.

Great point. Face-to-face instruction is a lot about imposed structure, peer-pressure, and the utility of schedules, timetables and repetition.

I strongly suspect that the strong majority of students

I believe you meant

I strongly suspect that the majority of students, who are weak students,

Having had some experience (not as a student) with online programs, I believe you are entirely correct - you need more willpower (and maturity) than 85% of the population has to stick to a course without a nanny making sure you are paying attention.

However, I think most of those standard students don't actually benefit much from face to face education, either - for the vast majority college is 4 years of being baby-sat while demonstrating basic levels of socialization and an ability to follow directions.

That being said, online education seems like a terrific opportunity for non-traditional (i.e.: mature) students, rather than kids marking time after high school. Maybe the employability advantage would shift back to older workers, since they could take advantage of continual re-training in a way a green 22 year old can't?

"Put these two facts together, and what is your prediction?"

Inefficient institutions, like public universities, can hold out indefinitely?

+1

(Need a feature for this, it happens so much)

That the concept of "best" university is only weakly related to the actual amount of learning in a course, so Tyler had better reconsider the signaling model of education? ;)

The question is whether the elite universities will expand their online offerings in an attempt to increase their market share-- since it's apparently becoming more and more possible for them to do so while still offering the same quality of instruction-- or whether they'll continue to focus on in-person instruction because expanding their student population would dilute the prestige of their degree.

If the elite universities fail to embrace online teaching, it will be more evidence that their elite nature is really just about accepting a better class of enrollee, and thus evidence for the signaling model of education.

As to Orszag's point, yikes:

1. It's indicative of rising inequality, oligarchy and diminished social mobility. And clearly suboptimal for the longer term performance of the country to the extent that more of the top-1% talent kids without top-5% earning parents are precluded from top educations. Yes these educations are neither necessary or sufficient for success, but they are helpful and predictive of success. Also when looking at project-finance investments in other countries I usually look around where the 85th percentile is doing in terms of quality of life and opportunity - it's the group that really drives the execution of the economy and if they are regressing it is a bad sign.

2. As a father of four younger kids, yikes this is definitely going to cost more than I hoped. Education budget (all four now in private day schools) to remain "all the disposable income" for the next 20 years. Of greater concern, diminished middle class achievement lengthens the odds of the hoped for outcome for the kids -- it's harder with four to expect all to end up in the top 1%. Eventually, you start to fill out the bell curve. Viz the 85th percentile line above.

3. As a Michigan undergrad alumnus of the 80s, sad but not entirely surprising to see it slipping. It had been a great university with very poor quality control -- there were absolutely top teachers there and a motivated student could piece together a great education, but there was no requirement that one do so and a high volume of mediocre classes. With a generation's turnover of the elite teachers being pulled away to the private schools, it is easy to lose that opportunity. As always, thanks to the late Art Burks, my advisor as a computer science and philosophy double major, and John von Neuman's co-author on the paper that laid out the structure of the machines we're all using now.

As to the efficacy of online classes, yes they will be an efficient replacement for the large lecture or TA-sectional courses that formed the core of the top public universities' decline. At the level of the second- and third- tier public colleges, they ought bring about a better level of education in many cases. I do not see them reversing the relative decline of the top public schools.

3. I can confirm this assertion about U of M in the '80s.

Funny, but none of you have actually stated my prediction...!

Start polishing up your resume?

Since public institutions are facing budgetary pressures, they have resorted to offering a wide array of online courses to a wider audience. Metrics such as "employer satisfaction" and whatever else college rankings are based on have suffered as a result... im just guessing...

I call BS on Orszag.

Soon after USNews started their rankings, they changed the methodology such that public Universities were no longer highly ranked. (I think they started to put more weight on things like endowment size and high faculty/student ratios.) I'm pretty sure Berkeley was the only public in the top 25 in the early 1990s, if not earlier. There is no long term "trend" to be discerned from the USNews rankings, most of the variation comes from changes in their methodologies.

Exactly, and when you consider that a school with high attrition is downgraded, when that might suggest its graduates are better than its intake, the bias is against public universities.

Agree. Judging the quality of a university based on the precise placement on the USNews list is silly.
(a) There isn't that much precision in the methodology.
(b) Different students have differrent criteria, need different things.
(c) The USNews ranking is suspect once you get past a few "elite" schools that probably everyone agrees are the "elite."

Eight Ivies ... CalTech and MIT ... Stanford, Chicago, Duke .. perhaps Johns Hopkins ...

Those, I would guess, would be pretty widely recognized as "better" than any public universities. That would consign the "best" of the public schools to a best possible placement somewhere in the middle of the second ten. But that's certainly no disgrace. And I would venture to guess that most people would think Cal Berkeley, U Mich, University of Virginia, and UNC are pretty good matchups against any of the rest of the best private universities.

Or maybe not. Lots of opinion involved. And definitely not reducible to a few numeric formulas.

My predicton is that a lot of public universities are going to expand online offerings, especially in their extension departments. The restrictions on who can take these classes will begin to vanish and enrollment will increase. The schools leading the way will be mid and low tier land grant institutions, and this will have a huge effect in the next ten years on large lecture style classes.

Because these schools are accredited and usually have transferrable credit to higher ranking institutions, schools higher up on the food chain, or with stronger faculty unions, will have difficulty in closing this sort of thing down

Thanks, that was my prediction!

I agree. And, it will also extend to MBA programs but with meeting on the weekends once and awhile.

Large lecture classes are already a profit center for universities. This will make that both more and less the case--some universities will win, and others lose. We should expect to see increases in "in residence" credit requirements, and a debate about accreditation standards. Expect academics to produce lots of books demonstrating that students learn most through interactions with professors and students outside the classroom. This dovetails well with the lifestyle emphasis universities present to their target market. And people who insist they are open to reform will also insist that any efficiencies gained by reform are evidence of the reform's failure.

Okay, here's my prediction:

The old model of pursuing higher education for years before ever stepping into the professional workplace is on the way out. The future will be a place in which people pursue job skills as they go. We already see this in the business world, where many of us pursue professional designations via week-long intensive course work. And of course the real winners are people who put in significant after-hours investments in their skill sets, earning things like MBAs and CFAs and graduate degrees in their spare time. (Okay, the returns to MBAs and CFAs may be on the decline, but that is certainly not the case for MSc Statistics degrees, PMP designations, etc. etc.)

What I am seeing in my own experience, however anecdotal, is that the minute I "get somewhere" professionally, I discover that the "next step" involves a whole skill set I never could have predicted. I am going to acquire these skills, because I want my career to progress. Surely everyone else is not so unlike me that they would just consider themselves "stuck."

So what I think we will see is an expanding market for curricula that provide get-them-as-you-go skills like professional certifications, and a shrinking market for curricula that require years of dedicated study without providing any transferable skills.

The US News indicators of quality will be further discredited, as the fact that most of them are simply proxies for resource-intensity/inefficiency.

Tyler's prediction: That the University of Phoenix education model is the future?

In my experience, "academic leaders" are in an extremely poor position to evaluate the effectiveness of online courses vs. tradition face-to-face education. Not only are they are barely involved in the day to day work of teaching, but they also have strong cognitive biases in favor of online education, which tends to be a cash cow, regardless of its quality. Now, if instructors and students shared this evaluation, I might be convinced. Whatever prediction Tyler comes to will be seriously flawed if this is the kind of premise he is starting from.

This is a very good point. If I recall correctly (and I'm sorry I don't have a link off the cuff), similar surveys of students showed a good deal less satisfaction with online courses. Measuring the effectiveness of teaching is a tricky business, but "academic leaders" (i.e. administrators) are just about the last people I'd look to for either objectivity or accuracy on something like this.

Of course it is "academic leaders" who will drive things (probably in the direction Tyler predicts), so the actual effectiveness of online courses is sort of beside the point.

Why doesn't GMU join the frontier and offer online courses?
If I could access audio/video of GMU courses from my home I'd most of my day learning econ :)

You know, you make a really good point. It's not just Cowen and Tabarrok who are pushing this idea, it's also the guys over at EconLog. If that's truly how they see it, then why don't they jump into the pool? Or are they waiting for the Mises Academy to steal their market away?

The opinions of faculty and administration are rarely alligned. And one Drpartment being gung ho hardly means any of the others will have any interest. This is really up to administration.

I know, I know, but still.... ;)

Two noteworthy comments.

1.) "Though it did not sample faculty opinion directly, responses from those same academic leaders suggest that professors have also been slow to completely come around on online education."

So this survey is based on the perceptions of people who often have never taught a since course in their lives. Ok,

2.)But to Seaman, the most surprising finding about administrative views on the value of OER was how warmly -- and recently -- the concept has been embraced by leaders at for-profit institutions.

Can we not see why the administration would so warmly embrace the CASH COW that is online courses? Geez, of course they want to see academia move in this direction. More ranks for administrators, less need for faculty. It is an administrators dream.

Most faculty, students and parents realize the false promise of online learning. This push is coming from a small but powerful minority.

You can also note that the composition of the survey audience may have changed from the first to the second period: the second survey may include online academic leaders
So, what would you expect if it did.
I would be interested in outcomes. You can measure those. See how both groups compare and ignore the leaders.
Good luck on academia developing tools to measure you across all schools, although maybe GREs could be used but there also involves some self-selection bias.

With all their optimism about online education do either of Tyler or Alex have an online offering?

Outside of the Research 1 tier, most public universities are headed for the dust bin. Stanford offers three computer science courses for free and how many people join? A few hundred thousand was the last number I heard. Highly personalized, AI-based learning is the future. Tuition will be hundreds of dollars, not hundreds of thousands. .

If you look at the bloated infrastructure and employment rolls of universities, it's staggering. Even in the largest, most economically diverse US cities, universities are among the largest employers. What will happen when a deflationary tsunami hits universities? In particular, what will happen to the cities that rely on them to shore up the tax base?

What about cow colleges and engineering programs, both of these are a big part of mid tier schools and these subjects have to be taught hands on, especially Ag and Natural Resources. Most places teaching these, and to be honest at the forefront of research are not Tier 1, yet they are really necessary for a functioning economy. Combine this with the massive expansion of credentialing that requires a relevant college degree in these fields, I can't really see these schools drying up. And it is these schools that are often the basis of local economies. I just don't see a scenario in which New Mexico State or Stephen F. Austin are going to disappear, let alone dreary flagships such as North Dakota or Nevada. Heck, Hospitality programs still require actual hands on programs.

And even if everything else vanishes we will just need super Community Colleges to hand out Law Enforcement and Medical Tech certificates.

I think you've hit on something here. In Texas we already have the problem of disappearing 'good' public schools. 'Good' generally translates into predominantly upper-middle class white. Results are less important. A 95% Hispanic school where 100% of the kids go to college would still not be a 'good' school. In much the same way what we are seeing is a sorting between the 'good' universities and the rest. You can still get a fantastic affordable education, but you'll never be in a class with a Carnegie heir. And that's a change. Universities have functioned much like a country club membership which is why the rates can keep going up. We are hitting a wall right now where change is happening. I don't think we'll move primarily to online courses, but I do think changes are in the works for public Universities. Because if you can't offer exclusivity then it becomes harder to demand premium pricing.

Isn't there a lot of self-fulfilling bias built into the U.S. News rankings? It's kind of like Consumer Reports' auto rankings.

But to the degree the rankings are accurate, I wonder what role price plays. U of M has been hiking its tuition every year and may have priced many of the smart but poor kids out of the school. That leaves more space for the upper class twit of the year contestants. I know that here in Michigan, the second-tier schools (State, Central, Western) have become much harder to get into. Since outcomes are based mostly on the students, not the faculty, parents and children are opting for lower prices.

I can't find USNWR rankings for 1987. Here's a web archive link to an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education that purports to list all the rankings from 1983-2007:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070905010206/chronicle.com/stats/usnews/index.php?category=Universities&orgs=&sort=1983

There's no listing for 1987. That said, both Berkeley and Michigan are in the top 10 for the 1988 ranking, so maybe that's what's being referenced. What's significant is that Berkeley's ranking drops into the 20s immediately after 1988. It falls to 24th in 1989, then never gets above 13th again. From 1995 to 2007 Berkeley was never higher than 20th. Michigan suffers a similar fate. After its #8 ranking in 1988, it was never again ranked higher than 17th from 1989 to 2007.

Ignoring for the moment the idea that USNWR rankings are a poor way to compare the quality of universities, if you're going to use them, it would make sense to focus on more than just the top 10. For instance, how has the number of public universities in the top 25 changed over time? Was 1988 an outlier year in that it had two in the top 10? (It certainly seems that way.)

My prediction is that private schools have and will continue to game the absurd metrics that the US News & World Reports standings are based on better than public schools. For example public schools are limited in how selective they can appear to be, because their public support is contingent on voters thinking it's possible for their children to attend the school. Which gets reflected in things like laws that require admission for anyone who graduates in the top 10% of their high school class.

Prediction: The whole lecture & exam model is going to explode, and the majority of Universities are going down with it. Lecturers are the buggy whip manufacturers of the YouTube age.

It will start with large State University systems (Texas and Florida are good bets, but who knows - maybe Kansas will out-innovate them) offering online courses more widely. Over time more and more of the work will be automated (like test-writing AI software that generates relevant questions on the fly - Khan Academy already does this) or moved to peer-to-peer (software-sorted study groups, and "upper classman" will get credit for serving as a resource to introductory course students), driving down the price.

These online State Universities will compete for students nationally and internationally, in an effort to subsidize education for local students (in accordance with local political mandates). Any Federal barriers to this competition will be lobbied out of existence. Maybe some State Universities sufficiently captured by their labor unions (like the U of California) will lobby for protectionist measures, but they will lose.

Before real price competition can take over though, there will need to be an objective method for measuring the "education outcomes" of various institutions, such as Arnold Kling's "A Means A" model. No doubt Princeton Review and Kaplan will be in this market, but I bet a struggling University with a good reputation (such Cornell or Brown - good schools, but not quite Harvard or Yale) will move into this space as they continue to lose students to online courses. Instead Cornell will offer to "test" the graduates of U-Texas or U-Phoenix to determine an "absolute and objective" grade of their knowledge.

Ultimately the new gatekeepers who can command some real profits in the market will be the credentialing institutions such as "A Means A", because that's what employers will look for - rather than the educational institution that provided the knowledge. Maybe one or two educational institutions will discover some secret sauce to educating students at the fastest rate or to the highest level, and these will become dominant within the global marketplace for education. Niche players will exist for niche educations, such as culinary school. But STEM and Liberal Arts will be dominated by a few players.

I'm sorry, but this scenario is hopelessly over-optimistic. Particularly, the bit about how "Any Federal barriers to this competition will be lobbied out of existence" is just absurd. Who will be doing this lobbying? And how, in any possible world, could you possibly believe that anyone could out-match the lobbying power, money, and deep government connections of the current massive and entrenched educational complex? If anything is likely to be "lobbied out of existence", it'll be things like "A meets A" that threaten the current system.

In an ideal world, high schools would be able to grant higher education degrees (BS, BA, MA, etc) in any major. Just cut out the filler that exists from K-12 and replace it with substantive material.

In the real world, universities will hold on to education with a massive tuition death grip. They will be able to do this because it will take centuries to convince the public that an online degree is actually worth something (unless a Steve Jobs of education arrives).

Peter Orszag puts too much strength in US News and World Report's rankings. UC Berkeley may not be top 20 according to US News and World Report, but if you place people who get A's at UC Berkeley against people who gets A's at many of those other 'top 20' schools in comparison for graduate school admission, there will be fierce competition. I think UC Berkeley students will get an edge too. My point is: the quality of education at UC Berkeley, and many other public universities, has not fallen.

This is an observation of what is already happening, not a prediction. Online classes are far more common in public universities than private ones - if we are talking about the top universities (no I haven't done a valid study of this, but I am quite confident that it is true). So, if publicly provided higher education is the culprit for inertia, what does this tell you about the quality of online education?

I am struck by what you call, with emphasis, "facts."

+1. If these are the kind of "facts" that Tyler relies on, we can confidently ignore his predictions.

USNWR rankings will become further decoupled from "learning outcomes".

"Some admittedly imperfect indicators suggest the quality of public higher education is already fading. For example, in 1987, both UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan were included in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the top 10 universities. By this year, there were no public universities in the top 10 — and UC Berkeley, the top-ranked public school, had fallen from fifth to 21st.

Put these two facts together, and what is your prediction?"

So... what else might have changed in public higher education between 1987 and 2011? Oh, I know, it can only be the rise of online courses!

That's why online Kaplan colleges and the University of Phoenix are producing higher undergraduate completion and placement than regular schools. Oh, wait!

Far be it from me to pooh-pooh online learning! My first job in high-tech back in the 1980s involved implementing online tutorials designed by world-class technical writers, teachers, and instructional designers. And like a lot of other people I'm encouraged and impressed by MIT's OpenCourseware and similar initiatives. And, yeah, I'm unenthusiastic about the seeming death spirals in tuition coupled with decreases in budgets in face of the placement prospects of chronic TGS economy. So if distance learning, tutorials, and online courses can bring down the cost of what seems to have be viewed entirely as glorified vocational training instead of an actual Puritan-tradition-based Liberal Arts education for citizenship I'm all for it.

Putting my "money" where my mouth is I already encourage my children (ages 12 and 14) to look for online course opportunities to supplement their (entirely adequate) public school learning, and will continue to encourage them when they reach college age. And beyond. (Although note that barring a total collapse and/or defunding of higher education I have no intention of steering them away from at least minoring in courses related to the traditional Liberal Arts.)

All that said, I still think your two paragraphs are a non sequitur and your follow-up question a bit of axe grinding. UC Berkeley (which I have never attended and have little interest in my children attending either) has indeed fallen in national standings, particularly as rated by U.S. News. And it is the case that a week or two ago you bitterly slammed the regents at UCB for sidetracking online learning (I initially wondered if this was why you picked the second paragraph.) But it's... silly to imply as you do that "the quality of public higher education is already fading" because online education is rising. And not because of, oh, say, (pause roughly two seconds for some random Googling...) an alleged 40% per-student funding drop between 1990 and 2009 in California or (more Googling -- golly it's so hard!) the University of Michigan's alleged ~40% reduction in per-student funding over what looks to be an even shorter period. Or, even more telling, the governor's proposal to cut up to $246 million from the University of Washington's budget this biennium (compared to the state's total of $627 for the last!)

Oh, but wait! I think you're right, Tyler. It's all about that online learning.

figleaf

Oh, by coincidence here's a hint about possible a non-online-related reasons for academic decline in public universities.

Apparently, my tiny brain only has so much room for innovation at this stage of midlife. I think that age and/or complacency has a lot to do with this. I used to teach a 3-3 load, write articles, make progress on a book manuscript, and win nationally competitive grants! (Maybe I peaked at 33? Maybe this is just what it is to be an Associate Professor at a beleaguered Aggie that’s down 6 or 7 tenure lines in the past 10 years?)

Source: anonymous history professor and blogger Historiann.

Yes, one could credibly argue that a higher education system entirely dedicated to vocational training in minerals extraction and CDS construction has no place for history professors no matter how well or ill they teach. But a department that's down six or seven "ship of the line" professors due in large part to budget cuts is probably going to have an impact regardless.

figleaf

Tom West is right. The opportunity for a sufficiently-motivated student to self-educate has been there since we've had decent libraries. Online classes are just that with bells and whistles.

The problem is, the vast majority of students are not sufficiently motivated. I get pleasantly lost in the stacks every time I enter a library. And the internet is worse. For many of us, taking an online class is like trying to self-educate in a library full of strippers.

And this leaves aside the issue of credentialing. If many of us find the idea of giving weight to an online (or Phoenix and the ilk) diploma laughable, it is not least because many of us know lots of "students" who have explicitly told us that they're taking online classes because they're so much easier.

I could become the greatest engineer or doctor of all time, but without a diploma it would be meaningless. I am not going to college to learn as much as I am going to get credentialed.

An online university may appear in the top ten soon?

There is an opportunity for someone to create the "Sony" of higher education - a primarily online university whose quality is comparable to a state's flagship university. When that happens, there will be tremendous pressure put on state higher education and even some private schools to reform.

MIT and Stanford already have their coursework online. All they need is to scale testing, and you can't get much higher quality than that.

"When that happens, there will be tremendous pressure put on state higher education and even some private schools to reform."
And tremendous counter-pressure to regulate such online schools out of existence once they become an actual threat to the current system.

University of Phoenix to the Big Ten in 2015?

Why don't organizations like Educational Testing Services (ETS) expand their range of products? The GRE is laughable, but certification in language education, for example, is working very well -- you can sit an IELTS exam in any British Council worldwide, or a TOEFL exam, etc.

It should be easy to expand that to highly standardized subjects -- mathematics, and possibly physics, chemistry, computer science, etc.

Certifications in those areas would be very valuable, especially to international students seeking graduate education in the US or other rich countries. In fact, it would render the signalling value of B.A., B.Sc. degrees in those fields largely redundant, in my opinion.

I surely would have appreciated this when I applied for econ graduate school in the US. Does anybody have a good theory why such a system of certification is not yet in place (or why the GRE is as shallow as it is), despite such high demand from (e.g. East Asian) students from largely unknown schools with the desire to differentiate themselves?

Thanks.

This doesn't surprise me, as this generation enters universities they are more tech savvy than ever before. Taking on online class, navigating the material and absorbing the information presented has never been easier. Think about it, if a professor is teaching 30 students per class how could he/she ever meet each students expectations and requirements for how they themselves learn. With online courses students are able to take in the information at their own pace, never leave they're comfortable dorm and no longer have to contend with problems such as: The pace of the class, volume of the Professor, distractions, etc. These courses are making increasing use of animations and software to add depth to the lesson as well.

As for a prediction, I feel that this will be an increasing trend. Online courses cost less to take, operate and create, therefore making them a more financially reasonable option in a time of economic hardship. If the same credits can be earned for less by doing less, why not capitalize on that? However I don't think that it will extinguish the public university system or even impact it to severely in the long-run. This is simply because the university experience is more to people than classes,resumes consist of more than class schedules and students know that. The University system in the United States still remains well grounded, and publicly funded systems have always struggled in my eyes. I expect to see an increase in online courses and less personalized face-to-face learning, but I wouldn't expect to see severe consequences for the public university system.

Personally, I think in class instruction is much better than any online course offered. As a student myself, I find it half impossible to pull myself away from sites such as Facebook and YouTube long enough to complete assignments outside of class. To think of having to go through an entire course based solely on factors such as my willingness to take the time to use my computer (a device that I associate with social/recreational purposes) to complete assignments posted by a teacher who I've never met before.
The personal interaction with an instructor in a classroom setting is far more valuable in my mind, as far as learning the material. With many subjects, it would be quite difficult to learn without the help of an instructor. To an extent, I am able to teach myself, but there comes a time when an instructor must come in and help me with the rest. I suppose it depends on your learning style, but I personally have to utilize auditory as well as visual learning in order to effectively understand the material. This includes listening, as well as reading.
Although online courses may be economically viable, I myself am willing to pay the higher prices to experience the traditional classroom setting as opposed to relying on myself to learn what I need to learn. It’s easier to slack off when you have no personal connection to your professor. As a consequence, it could be possible to essentially fail the course and waste the money you spent to take the online courses. But that online course could be from an unaccredited online school, or a “fake degree.” In actuality, quality courses online can be much more expensive than the tuition you might pay for on campus learning. The tradeoff just is not worth it in my opinion.

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