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Future of Education is At Hand: Online, Accredited, Affordable, Useful ^ | September 4, 2013 | Mike Shedlock

Posted on 09/04/2013 4:34:12 AM PDT by Kaslin

I have long been in the camp that the price of education is so expensive as to make college a poor choice for many who attend, and a downright bad choice for those who go heavily in debt for degrees in little demand.

The entire education system is and has been for some time unsustainable. The cost of education keeps rising along with ...

  1. Government aid
  2. Union contracts
  3. Pension benefits
  4. Salaries of coaches
  5. Competition for the most elaborate dorms
  6. Fundraising

Dylan Matthews at the Washington Post has a 10-part series called "The Tuition is Too Damn High". The first seven articles in the series are already available. Part-10 is the writer's proposed solution.

I have talked about most of the points above except point five. Matthews discusses "dorm competition" in Part VI — Why there’s no reason for big universities to rein in spending
 Freddie de Boer is a grad student at Purdue University, one of Indiana’s flagship public research institutions. Purdue has a new gym – excuse me, a new “sports center,” the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center, to be exact. When de Boer went to check it out, he found treadmills that each featured a TV and an iPod dock, a bouldering wall and a 55-foot climbing wall, a spa with Jacuzzi function that can fit 26 people, six racquetball courts, and a “demonstration kitchen” for cooking lessons.

The Córdova Center wasn’t an expense that needed to be paid for. It was an expense made because it could be made, because the nonprofit university rewards those who spend money, not those who save it.

I suggest the problem with the education system is largely that of government throwing more money at the problem. Just as hundreds of affordable housing programs raised (not lowered the price of homes), the same happened in the education system.

Throw in union graft, pensions, sports, and you have the problem in a nutshell. The solution is simple.

Three-Part Solutions

  1. Stop all student aid programs
  2. Increase competition via accredited online programs
  3. End the preposterous pension plans of educators and administrators

Of my three proposals, number two above is now at hand, in the form of more accredited online education, at reputable institutions, giving advanced degrees at affordable prices.

The MOOC That Roared 

Reader "Tom" pinged me today with this email:

 Hi Mish,

I've read your thoughts and comments on higher education and the future of college degrees. I agree with most of your ideas, but I would have guessed we were 5-10 years away from some of that stuff. Nope. George Tech has a Master's in Computer Science that is going to bust higher education wide open. Check it out:

Maybe I'll get that PhD after all. 

Best.... Tom
Radical Change

Tom sent a link to a Slate article The MOOC That Roared, subtitled "How Georgia Tech’s new, super-cheap online master’s degree could radically change American higher education". 
 Georgia Institute of Technology is about to take a step that could set off a broad disruption in higher education: It’s offering a new master’s degree in computer science, delivered through a series of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for $6,600.

The school’s traditional on-campus computer science master’s degree costs about $45,000 in tuition alone for out-of-state students (the majority) and $21,000 for Georgia residents. But in a few years, Georgia Tech believes that thousands of students from all over the world will enroll in the new program.

The $6,600 master’s degree marks an attempt to realize the tantalizing promise of the MOOC movement: a great education, scaled up to the point where it can be delivered for a rock-bottom price. Until now, the nation’s top universities have adopted a polite but distant approach toward MOOCs. The likes of Yale, Harvard, and Stanford have put many of their classes online for anyone to take, and for free. But there is no degree to be had, even for those who ace the courses.

George Washington University’s online MBA Healthcare degree, for example, costs the same $1,485 per unit (52.5 units gets you to the finish line) as the standard program. The reasons for this are many, but perhaps the most important is that universities are terrified of debasing the value of their diplomas.

Drop the price of the online degree, the logic goes, and you could have a Napster-like moment sweeping college campuses. Revenues spiral down as degree programs are forced to compete on tuition. That’s a terrifying prospect for universities, which have depended on steadily rising tuition—growing at more than twice the rate of inflation—to cover costs.

Georgia Tech’s new program, though, throws a monkey wrench into the system by reordering the competitive landscape. U.S. News & World Report ranks the computer science department among the nation’s top 10. The new degree—which is a partnership with MOOC pioneer Udacity—is intended to carry the same weight and prestige as the one it awards students in its regular on-campus program.

Uncharted Territory

Someone at Georgia Tech is thinking, and that person is Zvi Galil, the head of Georgia Tech’s school of computing. 

"This is uncharted territory," he says. But, he warns, if Georgia Tech doesn’t do this someone else might come along and do it first—grabbing the notoriety, the students, and the revenue. "There is a revolution. I want to lead it, not follow it".

As I have stated repeatedly, someone was bound to do this. And here we are. And it will not stop with advanced degrees, but rather spread like wildfire to lower degrees. 

I have warned parents with kinds in grade school to not lock in education costs at today's rates because I expected costs to come down. And they will, dramatically, within a few years. 

Unfortunately, this will not do much for high school seniors right now. And it certainly will not do anything for those buried in student debt with no job and no way to pay it back. 

But relief is coming for those still in grade school.

Welcome Deflationary Event 

College dorms will be for kids of the wealthy, but even then, expect costs to mitigate somewhat when parents decide there is no extra "value" in spending an additional $40,000 a year for education.

Yes, this is a deflationary event, and one that everyone will welcome (except those who benefit from the current system of waste and graft).

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 09/04/2013 4:34:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I assume this is a non-thesis Masters degree. As a computer science professor, its hard to overstate the amount of time working with a student on a thesis takes up. It is a major investment which is largely uncompensated if there is no grant behind the work.

2 posted on 09/04/2013 4:46:08 AM PDT by rbg81
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To: Kaslin

The other thing is that you have to have a significant amount of discipline to do an online course. Most people probably don’t have it—let alone 18 year olds.

3 posted on 09/04/2013 4:56:56 AM PDT by rbg81
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To: Kaslin
Quoting the article:

And it certainly will not do anything for those buried in student debt with no job and no way to pay it back.

Mind you, if most of these people would have gotten a degree with a real future attached to it, they wouldn't have this problem. Nor would they, if they had done a tour in uniform and gotten the G.I. Bill to cover it. But NOOOO!, they had to go major in Queer Theory, with minors in Underwater Basket Weaving and Urban Puppetry. . .

4 posted on 09/04/2013 4:57:57 AM PDT by Salgak ( 100% all-natural snark !)
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To: Kaslin
Except for those who benefit . .. enter Harvard

AS THE NATION’S teachers and students return to classrooms this fall, a small, well-prepared group of education leaders will be ready to shape their experiences in novel ways . . .They are our first class of graduates from Harvard’s Doctor of Education Leadership, or EdLD, program—21 extraordinarily talented women and men who will be advancing curriculum reform, directing strategy, coaching principals, and recruiting teachers in schools, districts, agencies, and non-profits throughout the country."

5 posted on 09/04/2013 4:59:18 AM PDT by wtd
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To: Kaslin

As the parent of a seventh grader, I’m really hoping that prices do tumble. I’m pessimistic however.

The universities will fight tooth and nail to resist, just like in the Napster model, the record labels have fought. It took Apple, Amazon and torrents to change the record biz.

I expect Democrats will join the college battle over union issues, and the continued desire to indoctrinate in the classroom.

6 posted on 09/04/2013 4:59:38 AM PDT by catbertz
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To: rbg81

And so ? If they can’t exercise discipline, why would an employer want to hire them ??

7 posted on 09/04/2013 5:00:03 AM PDT by Salgak ( 100% all-natural snark !)
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To: Kaslin
If a student does an online degree program, who actually did the work?

Cheating is bad now, move the whole thing on line and it will make cheating pretty much universal.

8 posted on 09/04/2013 5:15:40 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Kaslin

I hold an adjunct position at a local community college and the administration there is plenty worried about the on-line alternative; despite the fact that the college already offers a number of on-line and hybrid courses.

Community colleges have traditionally been viewed as a low-cost way of getting started on a college degree, so the anxiety I see is quite telling.

9 posted on 09/04/2013 5:30:19 AM PDT by Arm_Bears (Refuse; Resist; Rebel; Revolt!)
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To: Kaslin

10 posted on 09/04/2013 5:54:45 AM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: rbg81

I disagree with your assumption that an online course takes greater discipline than the on-campus variety—if they same college credits toward a degree are offered.

11 posted on 09/04/2013 6:03:47 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: redgolum

There actually are ways to make online work just as well policed as on-campus.

E.g., have exams at proctored sites (off-line, if you will). Further advances in security could tie Skype-style, video-recorded monitoring, coordinated with keyboard entry.

12 posted on 09/04/2013 6:06:36 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: Salgak

Showing you can complete a four year degree shows some amount of discipline, fortitude, and a demonstrated ability to learn “complex” material. That is what the employer is buying.

Different people have different learning styles. Online courses require a lot of discipline and self-motivation. It means you can accomplish things without a professor being “in your face”. There is value in that. On the other hand, because you are not being watched, there is more potential for cheating.

13 posted on 09/04/2013 6:12:38 AM PDT by rbg81
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To: rbg81

18 yr old homeschooled students would...

14 posted on 09/04/2013 6:14:03 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: rbg81

Yes, there IS a greater ability to cheat. But since so much of online courses are graded on submitted papers that go through a plagiarism checker.

And of course, on group projects, the group members watch for it, too. We had a guy in one of my courses who claimed his parts of our paper were original, when they were word-for-word copied: 3 of the 5 members of the team recognized that, and confronted him with it. He still claimed it to be his work.

The NICE thing about online courses, is there’s a paper trail on EVERYTHING: all we had to do was attach the message thread with his submission, the source he plagiarized from, and all of our requests to him (and his answers. . . ). Submitted it to the prof, and he was out of the class the next day. Of course, since he had all our emails, we got nastygrams from him for weeks afterwards. We submitted those, too.

He was expelled with a record of cheating AND threatening students. . .and his employer (who apparently was paying the tuition) was ALSO informed. Never heard from the guy afterwards. . .

15 posted on 09/04/2013 6:27:00 AM PDT by Salgak ( 100% all-natural snark !)
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To: 9YearLurker
I used to be in a master's program for brewing and distilling out of a university in Scotland. They used that approach.

However, many in the industry still viewed the on line course with suspicion. ID’s can be faked to get into the test, and the course work could be faked also. In short, I had to drop out of the program because my employer did not view it as value added, and neither did many in the industry. There was no trust in an online degree program.

Similar thing in my industry today. An online degree is viewed as a “fake” degree. Now, that may change.

16 posted on 09/04/2013 6:52:33 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

Right, but the technology is getting better and, as I said, there’s no reason why it couldn’t become as secure as on-campus, where cheating is already rampant). I think it is a matter of already legitimate schools (e.g., GIT) getting involved in order for the credibility of the degrees to come along too.

17 posted on 09/04/2013 7:14:24 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: 9YearLurker
Can't argue that. But those changes are not going to be immediate, and I expect the FedGov to come in and try to regulate the college education industry soon.
18 posted on 09/04/2013 7:15:56 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

Some programs already have in-person proctored exams, and I suspect you’re right, the feds are going to be all over this—to protect their biggest source of indoctrination and propaganda.

19 posted on 09/04/2013 7:17:31 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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