The Arizona Desert Lamp

Sheepskin without the wineskin memories

Posted in Campus, Technology by Evan Lisull on 23 January 2009

Man on InternetIn an earlier post, I alluded to my thoughts on getting rid of “most everything” that fees and other such expenses currently cover. It seems that the state of Pennsylvania is considering an idea down that same path:

In an attempt to help lower the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree, Pennsylvania’s  State Board of Education has proposed creating a new type of four-year college: a “no frills” institution that would offer an accelerated academic program without extras like athletics programs, fancy gyms, and plush dormitories, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Of course, “no frills” should also mean no dorms of any kind, no class buildings, nothing. Otherwise, you’re building a glorified community college — and you already have plenty of those. The piece also notes that some states have moved towards allowing community colleges to grant certain four-year degrees, which isn’t the worst idea.

A “prestige”-institution-backed program of online education, however, is a real humdinger. If the UA were to create fully online, four-year-degrees, and aggressively market them, the institution would find itself with quite a revenue stream — something that would be quite useful about now. Such a program would also allow for the expansion of the UA’s overall enrollment, without actually increasing on-site enrollment. (I’m pretty sure that this wouldn’t help as far as state appropriations are concerned, but the whole point of expanding an online program would be to wean us off of state funding.) Further, since such a program would be offered with the UA’s full backing, and carry roughly the same weight as a degree earned in Tucson, the program would for many be worth paying tuition slightly higher than that of a DeVry.

Of course, there’s always something to be said for drinking tequila until you vomit blood spouting Marxist bullshit engaging in public sexual acts the “college experience.” Yet such an experience will always be a yuppie child’s adventure, as the poorer kids who do go to a state institution generally spend their time, y’know, working and studying. Assuming that the labor market imperative for a college degree remains, there will be a high demand for a degree that combines the flexibility of a U. Phoenix with the institutional backing of a state university.

As a postscript, it’s also worth noting that culture will play an important role in expanding online education. Already, the derision of online education is starting to ebb.

Image courtesy of Flickr user aNantaB


One Response

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  1. Laura Donovan said, on 23 January 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Online education is convenient, but I think the classroom environment is ultimately more beneficial. There are more opportunities to learn and ask for help. I completely agree with the “college experience” statement. Whether or not it’s a necessary rite of passage, I’m not sure, but not everyone needs to go crazy in order to have a fulfilling life.

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