While there may be questions about some of the Presidents priorities in regard to our countries goals and objectives it is doubtful anyone will question his commitment to education.
In a worthwhile effort to increase our countries production of students proficient in math and sciences he has committed billions of dollars to achieve this very important goal.
I don’t believe the President realized that the strategy he selected would have such far-reaching implications. President Obama has put special emphasis and financing on junior colleges and by inference online education. The boom at the junior college level is well documented and enrollment is growing at a record rate. It appears to some potential students that junior college offers a chance to spend a couple of year funded by the government while they decide, “What they really want to do.” There is nothing necessarily wrong with the mindset of junior college applicants particularly in light of the current economy and the staggering under-employment of the 18-25-age category. However it appears that if junior college gives young people a respite from earning a living education on line is even better and yes it is or can be government funded. The number of certificates and degrees coming out of on line “college” programs is staggering. I should also point out that the level of expert instruction has grown at a greatly accelerated pace. Further the certificates and degrees might actually assist the country in its shortfall in technical, science and math categories.
The unexpected growth in online degrees has generated some important observations and considerations about all of education on a global basis.
Doug Hornig, Senior Editor of “The Technology Investor” wrote an article in September of 2012 entitled “How Technology is Disrupting Education.” This story is well worth reading. Later in the article columnist David Brooks ask some important questions, “Will online learning diminish the face-to-face that is the heart of the college experience? Will it elevate functional courses in business and marginalize subjects that are hard to digest in an online format, like philosophy? Will fast online browsing replace deep reading? If a few star professors can lecture to millions, what happens to the students who don’t have enough intrinsic motivations to stay glued to their laptop hour after hour? How much communications is lost-gestures, mood, eye contact – when you are not actually in a room with a passionate teacher and students?”
Educators in the same article question the potential for generating billions of dollars of revenue for universities that get in on the online education boom created by the administration.
David Brooks summarized his observations by saying; “The early Web radically democratized culture, but now in the media and elsewhere you’re seeing a flight to quality. The best American colleges should be able to establish a magnetic authoritative presence online. My guess is it will be easier to be a terrible university on the wide-open Web, but it will also be possible for the most committed schools and students to be better than ever.”
My observation is that President Obama has opened a Pandora’s box with both huge opportunities and an uncertain impact on education worldwide plus the potential of billions dollars from both tax payers and private investments. What do you think? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what impact you believe online education will have on education and the competency of those receiving certificates and degrees from this blossoming new business.