How Serious Do We Take Online Education?
by Anthony Stasi
Jun 18, 2014 | 15201 views | 0 0 comments | 923 923 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Would you hire someone with a degree from an online university? This question comes up more and more, especially for people working in higher education.

The reality is that more schools are offering online programs, and a few courses online are not a bad idea. The benefits of an entire degree earned online, however, are still open for debate.

Students transitioning from high school to college are usually in for a shock. Even though some students approach college as just the “13th grade,” it is not a continuation of high school.

Papers are written differently; how they are expected to research topics is different. Courses that teach the proper ways to footnote, research, and develop ideas might be a good way to prepare students for that first semester. Those kinds of preparation courses can be offered online.

Right now, too many college professors are in a position where they have to reach back and teach basics that should have been covered earlier in high school. There is no sense in pointing blame, but a solution could be to have students develop some of the skills they need in a five-week online program.

High schools could latch onto this idea as well. Why do we not have students who finish at the bottom of a math or science class taking an extra few weeks of an online course? Why do we not teach languages online when there is time?

This would not even be a major union problem, since it would not require much more from teachers. In fact, the online courses could be taught by volunteers.

Some of us have made the case (for years now) that summer should not be a complete break from any and all intellectual activity. Perhaps the idea of summer class is too much of a sea change, but online courses are a way to keep the conversation going, even as students enjoy summer.

This should be happening in New York City colleges and high schools. It could be a good way to keep students on track.

We are now experiencing a college bubble. There will be fewer colleges and universities than the approximately 4,000 that now exist. Online courses are going to be the alternative for students who cannot pay all that tuition. But for now, these courses are a good way to supplement traditional educational programs.

What Eric Cantor’s Loss Means to Both Parties

If you’re not happy with the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, the loss of majority leader Eric Cantor to outsider David Brat in Virginia may sound like good news. The bad news, however, is that Cantor’s loss signals a widening split between the two major parties.

It is not only the Republicans who are moving toward the outer fringe, this is the case with both parties. Look at the leftward tilt that Governor Andrew Cuomo had to take just to avoid being challenged by a Working Families Party candidate. It is not good news to see big policy makers struggle to govern and fend off anti-politician candidates at the same time.

Maybe this is just democracy in action. After all, incumbents have more than enough advantages to win elections. This is not about an election, however, it is about the day after an election. The question is: can outsider candidates govern? Can Brat govern? We’ll see.

Politics may have become a sport to people who discovered it through the Internet or the 24-hour news cycle, but it is not a sport when the bell rings and school starts. Then it is time to pore over serious legislation. Maybe David Brat is ready for that challenge. We'll see.

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