A little debate

I tweeted about a diagram I had found in Mashable that came from a site called educationonline.net. I wasn’t terribly concerned about whether dates and things were accurate, I just like diagrams which explain how an idea has developed overtime. I was therefore amazed at the vitriolic comments from some people (see the bottom of the Mashable page) – do read some of the comments, they made me go and check things out for myself.

I appreciate that things are different in America (present changers of UK education take note), some of the for-profit “colleges” there are absolutely awful. I was looking just recently at an article, I think it was in The Chronicle, about differences between the USA not-for-profit universities and the for-profit ones and it made for blood curdling reading. The for-profit universities had ghastly student support, dreadful or non-existent lectures, astronomical prices and absolutely appalling drop-out rates. So I can understand that there must be some such organisations online that are the same if not worse.

I can’t understand why there is such opposition to online universities, even if some current ones are really bad. Can’t people see there is a real need for places like Capella, one of the online universities I visited. I took a look at comments from students who had followed an Education PhD. ok so the comments could be fakes but the situations they presented are real. People do have children or others they care for, or they do work long hours, or they are non-traditional PhD students. All these people need good online learning experiences from Higher Education.

May be what some of the people who commented on the Mashable site want is for only those who can manage to go to a traditional university to obtain that level of education – I don’t know. It did leave me feeling a bit low, though possibly more determined, about making people’s digital skills better so they can create good/useful online courses and others are capable of benefiting from them.

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