Bogus degrees devalue the rest
A lot of students hate getting out of the bed in the morning. The typical school day could be seen as daunting for almost anyone. Balancing school, work, family and other commitments could drive even the most steadfast person up the wall.
So it’s no surprise that college courses taking place 100 percent online are becoming more and more popular. It’s even to the point where schools are offering students the opportunity to complete a degree without ever stepping foot in a classroom.
Another reason for the race to online courses and degrees is in response to the rising enrollments at “for-profit” universities such as the University of Phoenix or Strayer University. (You know, those schools that you are inundated by each time you turn on the television.)
Chancellor Joel Anderson recently spoke to the University Assembly regarding his goals to keep up with the online trend here at UALR.
There is a huge problem with all of this, though. Do university leaders across the nation not realize that this is devaluing the diploma that we receive after all of our hard work? Do these same leaders really believe that someone who sits at a computer and completes a degree is as well-equipped to face the world as a student who went to class and actually got involved in academics and extracurricular activities? (Not to mention the fact that no one really knows who is actually completing the work in the first place.)
Most of the leaders probably do realize the circumstances, but most don’t have a choice. Their job is to keep a university running, and in order to do that you must have students and steady income. To do this, they have to keep up with the trends. If they don’t, they get kicked to the curb.
It is a scary thought, but definitely not a new problem. Many people would agree that most of the learning in college happens not inside a classroom, but rather in the friendships, networking, and other events outside of it. Going to class and completing the work builds a foundation. But if you don’t build upon that, it usually turns into useless information that students won’t remember after the exam. Someone who is completing a degree at home doesn’t get those experiences.
Before a few people get up in arms, it is also important to realize that some working people don’t have a choice. They work and have families to care for. Online degrees are usually an ideal solution for people like this. But is it really the best option? A college education shouldn’t be something that is easy to get. That defeats the purpose. Students should have to work long hours to prove themselves worthy of the honor of being called a college graduate.
But as in most situations, the cons outweigh the pros. If this trend continues and people can graduate with a 4.0 GPA from an online program where they don’t progress as a student or professional, then the diplomas received by all graduates become worth less and less. They become just fancy sheets of paper with some signatures at the bottom. What is the value of having a PhD if you didn’t learn a damn thing in the process of getting it?
With such easy access to a college diploma, higher education is on the path to a horrible death. When the job market is flooded with graduates who don’t know much more than how to tie their shoes, it becomes nearly impossible for employers to weed through the mess to find those students who worked hours upon hours upon hours to obtain, what they thought, was their ticket to a brighter future.