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Death Spiral" - Harvard Professor Predicts Up To Half Of US Universities May Fail In 15 Years

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Replies to: Death Spiral" - Harvard Professor Predicts Up To Half Of US Universities May Fail In 15 Years

  • chestertonchesterton 390 replies8 threads Member
    I was surprised to see the University of Florida on those lists as well, and while there may be openings for transfers, the university is really pushing its newly expanded online program. At least around here in Central Florida, their commercials are on the radio all of the time, touting how students can be Gators without even going to Gainesville.

    Online education can work for some courses, though watching a recorded lecture is not the same as sitting in a classroom, being able to ask questions and interact with other students. Of course, for students today, who keep their laptops on while sitting in class, I guess there may be no difference.

    I have just spent the last three years utilizing online education in our high school level home school, and there have been some pluses but more minuses in my view, particularly when it comes to writing, hardcore math, and lab sciences. I just don't agree that the cheaper virtual labs give an equivalent experience to lighting Bunsen burners and watching the chemicals bubble in real life, or that doing Algebra 2 or Precal in an online class with an online textbook has as much to offer as taking a class with a math expert teacher, who demonstrates problems in real life, and is available immediately to answer questions, or that doing AP English Lit online, as a one-sided experience with some written feedback from a teacher assigned to grade one's papers, has much in common with taking that AP English Lit class in a classroom, with a well-read teacher who can give context and help students gain insight into the literature itself.

    I can see the benefit of taking financial and accounting classes online - already solitary professions so why bother sitting in a classroom discussing debits and credits - or even computer science programming classes, which don't require any Socratic thinking, etc, or online for some graduate level work where the students are coming into the class with more knowledge than the professors themselves, but, at this point, I don't see online learning being a great total replacement for college. It will work in the short term to earn colleges more money, and for students who need the convenience of not having to travel to Gainesville, for example, and it may work exceptionally well for the most brilliant students, who are self-motivated anyway (though I wonder whether they would find so much online work to be dull and boring), but it all seems to depend on the idea of all students teaching themselves.

    Personally, I think there is still a great purpose to having teachers - as in teachers who are truly masters of their subjects and can share their insights and really guide students to enlightenment - but will we end up with more of these kinds of great minds the more education becomes as one-sided?

    Perhaps the problems I have seen are related more to the attempt to move traditional education online without altering the methods to fit the actual experience of working online. Just moving a textbook from paper to online, and just uploading a teacher's Power Point presentation does not make for good education.
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  • juilletjuillet 12808 replies164 threads Super Moderator
    I'm not surprised by this and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, as long as there is adjustment in the public sector to take the excess.

    Small tuition-dependent colleges, I think, make up the majority of the private colleges in the U.S. I've only heard of Dowling because I live in NYC. College Board says that on average, students have 41% of their financial need met (and that's probably with loans). Tuition at this school is $30,190. $30K! For a tiny private college in Long Island! The majority of students are probably financing the majority of that tuition with loans; most commute from home and most are New York residents. Why go to Dowling, though, if you can go to Old Westbury or Stony Brook or to one of the CUNYs in the city?

    There was a similar article in the NYT some time ago that profiled a couple of tiny liberal arts colleges, primarily in the Northeast, that have already closed because of similar issues. It would make me sad if they are primarily displaced by online education (unless some technological revolution makes the online experience closer to the in-person experience - there's no replacement for in-class discussion), but lowering overall student loan debt because these expensive, tuition-driven places disappear isn't a bad thing.
    We hear the rich-don't-pay-enough-taxes so much that I'm curious why we don't have a lobby demanding the government taking income from the rich non-profits and provide welfare for the poor ones. If Harvard can provide 90% assistance for its students with 6 figure family income, a small select set compared to the whole country's student population, why isn't some money, say 40% of their endowment income, taken from there to provide relief to students in poorer universities? Somehow I suspect many who feel rich individuals and corporations are getting off too easy won't feel the same way towards the rich and poor universities.

    Taxing individuals progressively so that people eat and don't die of dysentery is different from redistributing the resources of a large research university so that a tiny, struggling college doesn't close.
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6541 replies209 threads Senior Member
    UF is on the list, because the different colleges/majors have different transfer application deadlines, with a few of the less selective majors having a June 1’st date. For example, Engineering, Education, Building Construction are March 1st; Business Administration, Accounting, Liberal Arts and Sciences are April 1st; Landscape Architecture, Fire and Emergency Services, Interior Design are June 1st, while the online programs are July 1st.

    UF really is pushing/marketing its online program. The in-state tuition is set at 75% of the standard rate (with Florida already having fairly low in-state tuition). It’s a fairly cost effective way to earn a degree, go to a local CC for two years, and then spend two years online (living at home) competing your Criminology degree. I share many of @chesterton ‘s concerns, but for some (due to cost and/or family/work commitments), it could be the best option.

    As the technology improves (and competition increases) I can see the for-profits morphing into or being replaced by affordable, high quality, on-line programs.
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