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My brother said something to me the other day that got me wondering. I am now wondering what many of you think.
At the present rate of tuition increases, let's just say that a student entering college in 18 years will have to pay almost impossible tuition rates. (college costs seem to regularly rise more quickly than inflation) I would imagine the market will be tight and universities will have to find ways to bring costs down. Now, introduce current technology trends. 5 years ago there were not many ways to get a degree online, but there are many more opportunities now if one desires. On top of that, we can't even conceive what opportunities there will be in 18 years combining education, networking, and technology. (I am sure the traditional college will still exist, but it will certainly not be the only - possibly even the minority)
That being said, typical ways of saving for college may be "the devil that we know", but is it possible it is the wrong way thinking 18 years down the line when a newborn will actually be attending?
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I would imagine the market will be tight and universities will have to find ways to bring costs down. Now, introduce current technology trends

Reread the above 2 sentences. Can you now figure out what college costs have increased ? I work for a college and here's a hint - it isn't increased salaries or benefits.

rad
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edpalm wrote:
On top of that, we can't even conceive what opportunities there will be in 18 years combining education, networking, and technology. (I am sure the traditional college will still exist, but it will certainly not be the only - possibly even the minority)

I'm sure there will be extraordinary opportunities in 18 years combining education, networking, and technology. However, there is a lot more to college than just that. Even if my daughters could get the same book education from an online college, I think they'd be losing out by not being able to meet and interact with the other students and profs. Heck, even Starfleet Academy had a campus. (No, I don't normally make Star Trek references except, perhaps, regarding Seven Of Nine, but I think it was called for in the rare instance.)

-- Mark
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warning: Young Fool replying
i just finished my BS in chemistry and here's my 2 cents on the issue --
you got your private schools vs state. both offer scholarships and loans.. the difference being that if you are choosing private schools, you have to be able to do a lot of funding on your own (what's not "scholarship"-ed) with state schools, you can usually get at least upto half the money in loans -- which will dig you into a hole if you pick expensive schools. so i think what i'm trying to say is that if the school wants the student, basically paying for college won't be hard -- school will help... but if you're joe-schmoe as far as they are concerned, best way would probably be going through a community college (always cheaper) to take of the basic classes and raise GPA or do extracarriculars to be able to get scholarships, etc.
yes, the internet does offer classes, and in some cases it might be even simpler... however... small statistic -- you learn 50% of what you see and hear (i think seeing is 30%) where as you learn 90% of what you teach... which means that in "academic" environment where you have the ability to interact with other students and chance to discuss what you have learned. personally, i have attempted to learn things from the web, and while you can find the information, for a number of people, the idea of memorizing all this stuff is not as entertaining
this has been 2 cents with the young fool
now returning you to your regular programming
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Weirdmish,
I have to disagree with you. There have been studies done of online and distance education which state that the amount of learning is almost a 10 fold increase over a classroom setting. First of all, the students/learners are in an environment where everyone is on equal footing so reponses are better formed and discussions are deeper in thought. Discussions are written so that there is more time to think through what is said and what is replied. The shy kid speaks up in the online/distance educaton setting while they would never make a peep in the classroom. Same goes for the handicapped person and the older student/learner and the one who catches the drift slower than the "smart" kids. All of these folks are overlooked in the classroom setting.

Also, it has been shown that the online/distance education is most likely to succeed for individuals that are older than the "normal" college student of 18-22 year olds. There is assumed a higher level of maturity and responsibility for the success of the online/distance education student/learner.

Access to the instructor is greater with online/distance education. The instructor is only a telephone or email away, and they are required to respond to students/learners in a timely fashion versus a student having to camp out at their office for very limited office hours.

A good accreditated online/distance education program will offer the same benefits as the classroom version. The student/learner will have the same expectations for the school to teach them the information. The instructor has the same obligation to teach the students/learners. Students/learners generally have a higher level of learning from online/distance education because of the inherent collaboration that occurs.

Finally, online/distance education offers the opportunity for students/learners to obtain education at their convenience. Think of a working mother, can she go to a classroom easily? Think of the working dad who needs the MBA for a promotion, can he attend a classroom setting easily? Think of the wheel chair bound person, can they get to campus easily? All of these students/learners would not be able to attain degrees without online/distance education opportunities.

different perspective, eh?

Jenn
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Jenn
thanks for providing a number of intersting points that i haven't completely considered.
i apologize, but part of my reasoning comes from the fact that i'm partially biased. i wish that we had an education system were people could just take classes and learn stuff for the heck of it (my view was limited to the undergrad environment, and like you said, most people over 22 tend to be more mature and self driven). i guess my bigger mistake was due to looking at the college idea in a narrow focus of the 18-22 year olds, a number of who are just in a floating stage in their life and so don't really want to be in a number of classes that they end up in.
i guess my biggest problem (and this is a personal level thing) is that while you have time to think to write down your thoughts, i have difficulties expressing written stuff that i know i'd probably be able to verbalize better... but again this is a personal pet peeve.
thanks for providing a different perspective and hopefully some of mine also make sense
now returning you to your regular programming
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Weirdmish,
Some of the written skills also are acquired with age, unfortunately. Look at the difference between undergraduate papers you wrote compared to a thesis (you can generally find these in the school's library). The level of writing is very different and believe me it is not something that happens overnight.

In my PhD work, I have to churn out 50 page, single-spaced papers with APA style etc. It took me quite some time to figure out how to get that many words out of my brain let alone make them gel to the topic. Now, as I approach the completion of coursework it is easier, but that darn dissertation is soon to be hanging over my head..... what a lot of words to find!

In sum, it is all relative. You might try an online course sometime, but beware because there are good and bad ones out there just as there are good and bad classroom courses.

Jenn
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japper wrote:

I have to disagree with you. There have been studies done of online and distance education which state that the amount of learning is almost a 10 fold increase over a classroom setting.

Really? Who paid for the studies? The institutions providing the online/distance education?

Have you ever actually TAKEN an online course? Not just something for a hobby, but actually furthering professional credentials or getting a bacalaureate or masters degree?

First of all, the students/learners are in an environment where everyone is on equal footing so reponses are better formed and discussions are deeper in thought.

No, they're not. Unless the "discussion" is happening in real time, all you've got is a messagebase with lots of possibility for miscommunication and misunderstanding with no opportunity for immediate clarification. If you're new to the subject matter, you may not have the same background as the more advanced students and if you're unfamiliar with the technology, you're going to have difficulty getting it through to the "class" that you don't understand something. And have you read your emails lately? Have you noticed all the misspellings and incorrect usage of grammar? That's not exactly conducive to learning.

Discussions are written so that there is more time to think through what is said and what is replied. The shy kid speaks up in the online/distance educaton setting while they would never make a peep in the classroom. Same goes for the handicapped person and the older student/learner and the one who catches the drift slower than the "smart" kids. All of these folks are overlooked in the classroom setting.

Students do not get more attention in an online setting. They become nameless faceless handles who often get, if they're lucky, a one line response from the professor, and if they're really lucky they'll get that answer in time to complete their homework. Students get far more attention in a real classroom with a live professor.

Access to the instructor is greater with online/distance education. The instructor is only a telephone or email away, and they are required to respond to students/learners in a timely fashion versus a student having to camp out at their office for very limited office hours.

Huh? They may be required to respond in a timely fashion, but they often don't. Being required to do something isn't the same thing as actually doing it. It's a lot easier to delete an email or a voicemail, than it is to avoid a live human being. In the online course I took, I often didn't finish my homework until the night before it was due. If I had questions, which I almost always did because the material provided was not sufficiently explanatory and because I was new to the field, I was never able to get those questions answered in time to correct any mistakes and sometimes, I was unable to finish the homework because later problems depended on earlier answers, which I didn't know how to complete.

A good accreditated online/distance education program will offer the same benefits as the classroom version. The student/learner will have the same expectations for the school to teach them the information. The instructor has the same obligation to teach the students/learners. Students/learners generally have a higher level of learning from online/distance education because of the inherent collaboration that occurs.

Inherent collaboration? What inherent collaboration? You're often so damn far apart geographically that an in person study group is impossible. I don't want to sit here at my computer and write long winded paragraphs or get on the telephone to people I don't know and have never met. In particular, I don't want to have to call Washington state or Guam, a long distance telephone call, just to do my homework. (I picked those two locations, because they were the locations of the two students geographically nearest to me.) If I want to find someone to study with, I'm not necessarily going to be able to figure out which one of my fellow students is intelligent and which aren't based on their limited postings. But I can tell within a class or two, by having conversations with them and listening to what they say in class.

As far as I'm concerned and given my experience, there's no substitute for the real thing - a live professor. I went into my online class with the same expectations and was severely disappointed. The obligation of the instructor may be the same, but that obligation isn't fulfilled nearly as well online as it is in person. I took the online course from the same professor that I later took an in person course. What a difference! As a matter of fact, I'm driving two hours (round trip) every Tuesday night, commuting to San Francisco from Palo Alto and back so I can take my classes in person. It would be more convenient for me to take them online, but I'm certain I wouldn't learn the material nearly as well.

You just can't communicate as much information in the same period of time over the internet as you can via a live professor. The technology hasn't yet caught up to the idea. Until we have live video conferencing that is cheap, accessible, and easy to use, that creates the possibility of real time classes, distance learning won't really be viable.

Not only that, the written word isn't very good at communicating information that isn't data. The professor's emotion or fire about a subject is much less likely to be conveyed to his/her students over the internet. That's important too because that's what gets people excited about learning.

Finally, online/distance education offers the opportunity for students/learners to obtain education at their convenience. Think of a working mother, can she go to a classroom easily? Think of the working dad who needs the MBA for a promotion, can he attend a classroom setting easily? Think of the wheel chair bound person, can they get to campus easily? All of these students/learners would not be able to attain degrees without online/distance education opportunities.

Sure they would. I went to a full time day program law school. We had professionals, single working mothers, disabled students - you name it. They all attained their J.D., not that it was easy - they did have other commitments. While it might be more convenient to sit at home in front of a computer, I don't think it's really any easier. I think it's more difficult. Often times, it's not the professor you learn from but you're fellow students and not in the classroom, but around the lunch table or in a study group. All that opportunity for interaction isn't possible in a messagebase format, particularly for subjects that are complex, like products liability, civil procedure, or estate and gift tax (the course I attempted online).

Oh, and by the way, had I remained in the online estate and gift tax course I would have flunked, so I dropped out. After retaking the live course with a real professor the following semester, I received an A-.

just another different perspective, eh?

CCSand

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CCSand,
You asked a lot of questions. Please allow me to provide some background for my earlier comments.

First, according to my profile you will find I have multiple degrees. Some have been from online, others ground courses.

Second, I also teach ground and online courses.

Third, the studies I referred to were not conducted by the schools, or underwritten by schools. The studies were national studies conducted by govt entities.

Now, let me say as I said in earlier posts that the quality and experience a student receives from a ground course or an online course is varied from wonderful to awful. Online courses are subject to the same terrible instructors as ground courses.

I am sorry to hear that your experience was less than desired, but there are no guarantees in either method of teaching/learning. It sounds like your instructors were not held to the same ground teaching standards of getting back to students in a timely fashion. The institutions I am involved with have a strict 24 hour policy of getting a reply back to a student. Also, all students have mulitple methods of commumicating with the instructors: email, courseroom, telephone. If there is a question that the instructor has not gotten back to a student for some reason there is nothing holding that student from calling the instructor directly.

My experiences with online instructor have run the gambit too. I have had courses where the instuctor had minimal contact with the class, that instructor was not associated with the school within 30 days of receipt of our class' evaluations. Ambiguous instructions are dealt with by an email asking for clarification, same as holding up your hand in a classroom.

We do work in groups successfully. I had one group with members from Asia, Hawaii, Texas and Virginia. We had regular chats set up as well as telephone conferencing. It worked out well and we turned out a completed project easily. Of course this was done at the Master's level so there are inherent expectations and knowledge of subject matter.

I have also worked in groups at the doctoral level. Let me say that it was harder to coordinate the people in my town than it was to work with the people from other areas of the world. I guess there is an expeceted level of dedication to the project and respect for other people's time.

Yes, I have also worked with courseroom where notes are in a listed format. Read and reply, and post your new note. This is a form of discussion called asynchronous, chat rooms are synchronous. Asynchronous discussion areas allow for people to conduct their education at times which are convenient for their lifestyle and other commitments. It does take some adjusting to the posting to this format, but once you find a comfort level it becomes just another way of communication.

One thing that I have found in online instruction and online learning is that it is more time consuming for the student, and that is not always thought of when someone signs up for a course. Most online students think that online courses will be easier and that is the furthest from the truth unless the student already has a good grasp on the subject matter. This fact is a failing of the system, and needs repairing soon. I have always suggested that if the student has zero knowledge in a subject then they are better suited for a classroom setting where information is spoon-fed versus online learning where the student has to do more on their own.

Finally, online collaboration is only as good as its participants and is not any different from a ground course group project where one does not pull their weight.

I look forward to your comments,
Jenn
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You bring up technology trends and the growing opportunities to earn degrees online, and ask "is it possible it [typical ways of saving for college] is the wrong way thinking 18 years down the line when a newborn will actually be attending?"

I doubt it. First, whether one's children attend an entirely campus-based undergraduate program or stay at home and take all courses online -- or some combination -- someone's gotta pay tuition. And you and your kids will be better off if you have saved toward tuition, and you and your kids have to use the saving/investing tools available now.

I expect distance education through many media will grow, and that there will also be a growth in "hybrid" courses -- courses that both meet in classrooms and use various online tools and resources. But the traditional college campus is still a great place for 18-22 year olds getting their first postsecondary education and taste of living away from home.
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japper wrote:

The institutions I am involved with have a strict 24 hour policy of getting a reply back to a student. Also, all students have mulitple methods of commumicating with the instructors: email, courseroom, telephone. If there is a question that the instructor has not gotten back to a student for some reason there is nothing holding that student from calling the instructor directly.

Thank you for your kind reply!

Don't you think 24 hours to get an answer to your question is a bit long considering you would get your answer nearly immediately if you were in the classroom? How does a student living in Hawaii communicate in a courseroom if that courseroom is in California? It seems to me that there is no opportunity to do so.

I had one group with members from Asia, Hawaii, Texas and Virginia. We had regular chats set up as well as telephone conferencing. It worked out well and we turned out a completed project easily. Of course this was done at the Master's level so there are inherent expectations and knowledge of subject matter.

Telephone conferencing would be pretty expensive unless they were either very short or somehow accomplished via the internet. I've tried internet telephone calls and the quality is not really good enough - the sound kept cutting out and I'd get echoing from the mike. I agree that this would work better in a a group with good grasp of the subject matter.

One thing that I have found in online instruction and online learning is that it is more time consuming for the student, and that is not always thought of when someone signs up for a course. Most online students think that online courses will be easier and that is the furthest from the truth unless the student already has a good grasp on the subject matter. This fact is a failing of the system, and needs repairing soon. I have always suggested that if the student has zero knowledge in a subject then they are better suited for a classroom setting where information is spoon-fed versus online learning where the student has to do more on their own.

This is precisely why I feel that online/distance learning won't really be viable until teleconferencing becomes cheap, accessible and easy to use. There's learning taking place in the interaction between students and professor which happens at a much accellerated pace in real time. When you're trying to learn the same subject matter online, you're doing it almost completely by yourself. Just you and the written word and sometimes, particularly with a technical subject, that can be very difficult. Learning the estate and gift tax law for the first time via an online course and without a study group was agonizingly difficult. When I retook the course, I took it from one of the best known estate planning attorneys in the South Bay. It was clear he was on fire about his subject (well, as on fire as one can be about tax <grin>) and he really conveyed well how it all fits together - like pieces of a puzzle. We formed a study group and I made a lot of good friends in that class with whom I'm still friends. When I tried to form a study group in the online version, there was only one person living near me and he flaked out - just wasn't a good study partner. He understood the material less well than I did. The nearest other two people were in Guam and Washington state. I had no sense of them from their postings, which were usually very brief.

CCSand

... getting by with a little help from my friends!
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