Wednesday Linkpile for October, 12, 2011:
- Things aren't all that delightful down Dixie way for those with higher-ed debt burdens. "Recent grads struggling to pay student loans," reports an October 12, 2011 WMBF.com story. "Almost 80 percent of students at Coastal Carolina University use a student loan program or a parent loan program. The average amount of money that is being borrowed for in-state students is almost $9,000, and for out of state, $15,000. But once students get out of school, the issue is paying the money back."
- An October 11, 2011 Washington Post opinion piece celebrates "The rise of online education." "As a disruptive innovation — an innovation that transforms a sector from one that was previously complicated and expensive into one that is far simpler and more affordable — the rise of online learning carries with it an unprecedented opportunity to transform the schooling system into a student-centric one that can affordably customize for different student needs by allowing all students to learn at their appropriate pace and path, thereby allowing each student to realize her fullest potential."
- A letter to the editor in the October 11, 2011 edition of the New York Times similarly extols the virtues of distance learning. "The Benefits of Online Education." "Online students benefit from increased time-on-task through daily online guided discussion, interaction with their peers in problem-based learning activities, writing across the curriculum aided by social media, and by the use of teaching-learning activities geared to a variety of learning styles."
- It's unlikely, however, that online learning will completely take over higher education. "Trending Toward Blending: The Place of Distance Learning in Traditional Higher Education." "The debate concerning the relative merits between distance and residential learning appears destined to rage for some time yet, especially considering that the various terms of the debate are pulled hither and thither by competing and often contradictory claims. Institutions increasingly have their eye on the bottom line and thus are constantly looking to cut overhead. Cut too much, however, and the proverbial baby departs with the proverbial bath water. People will always pay more for a real experience than for its virtue equivalent, no matter whether that experience happens to be sensual or intellectual."
- It appears that venture capitalists are jumping into the distance-learning game. An October 12, CNBC.com article brings word that "Groupon Founders Bet Big on Education Website." "Lightbank, the prominent venture capital firm launched by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, has announced the closing of a multi-million dollar financing round for a little-known online education website called Udemy.com."
- Student attrition remains the fly in the online-education ointment. "The Measure of Success: Higher Education Online and Student Attrition." "[T]he hectic and often disorderly nature of these same students' affairs ... means that their prospects for successful matriculation remain quite low by dint of this same flexibility that initially appealed to them. With a lack of structure and regimentation comes the need for a high degree of self-discipline and motivation. The lesson – learned the hard way – for these students is that while the spirit may be willing, the flesh proves too weak."
- An October 11, 2011 Citizens Report article assesses the state of "Student Loans in a Rough Economy." "In today's harsh economy, student loans are a burden that most middle class Americans must bear in addition to other obligations. They are a nagging, consistent hole in which most of us have to sink a few hundred dollars per month for years on end. Recently, the costs have become so burdensome that some are riding the coattails of recent Wall Street protests and calling for a complete subsidization or removal of all student loan debt to help spur on the economy. Of course, this is an absurd request for most logical minds. We all voluntarily read and happily signed documents knowing full-well what the terms were when we began college. It does, however, exemplify the pains being felt by many Americans in this turbulent economy."