US Department of Education Pronounces "Online College Superior to Face to Face"
The U.S. Department of Education has released a study which, once again, affirms that online education provides a superior experience when compared with face to face instruction. If mastering information and developing skills relevant to eventual employment are the goals, online students learn more in a much shorter interval than their on-campus rivals. If, on the other hand, college is simply a way of escaping home, there are many less expensive ways of doing that, ways which will not amass tens of thousands of dollars of debt that will plague graduates for decades.
Linda Christas College has known this for a very long time, ever since it conducted its own evaluations in 1996 prior to opening its doors.
However, even though hard science provides evidence of the superiority of online education; even though online degrees can be delivered for one fifth the cost of traditional college programs, and prepare students much more effectively for the employment marketplace, there seems to be a concerted effort to continue to use on-campus educational methodologies that perform in sub-par ways.
Bowing to educational momentum, governments unnecessarily expend hundreds of billions of dollars annually to support programs that in many ways resemble a sort of Roman Circus with huge shouting crowds, cheering on their sports heroes.
The only difference is that Roman citizens were not charged for the spectacles they enjoyed. Not so in 21st century America.
However, the worst consequence of our reliance upon on-campus undergraduate experiences is that, without a commitment to traditional values, 80% of the on-campus delivery systems in the U.S. today actually damage the prospects of students attending, as well as weaken the fabric of the communities in which the colleges and universities are located.
Said differently, without a solid college or university commitment to values, students turn their behaviors toward the lowest common standards.
Students who possess personal values learned at home which conflict with destructive group tendencies are quickly pressured to compromise in favor of choices that neither do themselves, nor the university, any good, and work directly in opposition to the accumulation of the knowledge and skills required to secure employment upon graduation.
Online students, on the other hand, are not exposed to adversarial pressures which draw them away from the pursuit of the knowledge that will enable them to sustain themselves beyond college.
It is no accident that millions of undergraduate students leave home as responsible citizens, with the light of moral living in their eyes, and return on vacation from traditional on-campus experiences as rebellious, anger filled individuals. Without a code of behavior stipulated and enforced by their college or university such a result is nearly impossible to avoid.
Of course, there are campuses which have dedicated themselves to higher principles, and everyone agrees to follow these principles as a condition of admittance. Those campuses represent approximately 20% of all on-campus experiences, and nearly 100% of them are privately chartered.
Linda Christas College's Dean Emeritus, Dr. Ronald Bernard, has said, "The idea of formal education is to raise to consciousness an appreciation of why and how values relative to decency, loyalty, honesty, courage, perseverance and hard work conjoin to produce a successful life.
Plato believed that education was simply the process of teaching young minds how advantageous a good clean life is. He was convinced that once these advantages were known, society as a whole would be raised to greater and greater heights."
Unfortunately, most American college professors never seem to integrate higher values into their lectures. And, when they attempt to do so, many of them are censured by college administrations.
In addition, on the majority of American college campuses, sports programs command $50 dollars for every dollar spent for the physics department; and, $100 for every one spent on mathematics. The tragedy here is that everyone must pay for those programs whether they engage in athletics or not.
Undergraduate educations, expensive as they are, are depositing young graduates onto the streets of America with tattered, confused values, and without the practical knowledge and skills necessary to give them a chance at good paying jobs.
Linda Christas College is the only college in the United States, so confident of its programs, that it provides a lifetime employment service for every student who earns a baccalaureate degree from the College.
Another disadvantage suffered by American campus based programs is that the U.S. Department of Education makes the designing of college courses to meet individual student need difficult or impossible. That is, if an institution wishes to receive DOE recognized accreditation which then entitles students attending the college to qualify for federal grants and loans, courses must follow canned syllabi prepared without reference to the individual student. If accreditors do not find canned syllabi and teachers imposing those canned syllabi upon students en masse, accreditation is denied that institution.
It requires no experts to tell us that tailoring a course to a student's learning style, aptitudes, subject accomplishment level and interests will accomplish much more than a course designed irrespective of the human beings to be instructed. However, U.S. DOE recognized accrediting agencies will not accredit colleges that await students before designing educational experiences.
Stunningly, U.S. DOE accrediting agency methodologies are based on the Prussian military model, a model that has long been ineffective in meeting the challenges of 21st century scholarship.
Stated differently, the more personal and responsive an education is to individual need, the more difficult it is to obtain U.S. Department of Education recognition for the purpose of funding a college experience. (Unfortunately, the majority of states, like California, adopt the same accrediting policies for high schools they view modeled at the federal level for colleges, with the same low performing results.)
In response to the turning of American baccalaureate experiences into high school level repeats, attendance by foreign nationals on American undergraduate campuses is dropping at a rate of 5% per year. At the same time, due to the lack of qualified Americans to populate graduate research labs, foreign nationals have come to dominate that level on American university campuses, then returning to their country of origin upon taking their degrees.
Dr. Bernard continues, "It used to be the case that foreign nationals would remain in the U.S. after obtaining their higher level degrees. Not so much any more. There are such great opportunities in places like India and China today, there is little reason for the best minds to remain in the United States where opportunities are so few. We must realize that $14,000 per year is twenty-five times the average wage of Indian workers. One can live a very nice life with $14,000 per annum in India or China. What can we do with that level of compensation here? What would an American physician say to a $14,000 per year income?
American companies aren't blind. They know where fully competent minds can be engaged at the best price."
Considering all of this, the Linda Christas College administration continues to appeal to federal agencies and foundations for assistance.
As with most great reform efforts, it will take time.
One day in the not too distant future, the "newest," most "progressive," most "effective" movement in education will be discovered by America's people. Let us all hope, for the sake of the students themselves, as well as the maintenance of the United States as a world educational player, that that discovery occurs sooner rather than later.