Defending Online Learning, Part One
By Thomas K. Lindsay
Kicking and screaming, I have been hauled into acceptance of online learning. More than acceptance, in fact. After more than a decade of railing against the inhumanity of it all, I can no longer ignore the plethora of studies testifying to its educational efficacy. I now see it as a powerful means to address the crisis in American higher education.
That crisis consists of three elements: skyrocketing tuitions; crushing student-loan debt (approximately a trillion dollars, which is more than total credit-card debt); and declining learning outcomes, as measure by instruments such as the Collegiate Learning Assessment. These three factors are really two, because the rise in student indebtedness is the product of tuitions that, in the last 25 years, have risen four times faster than inflation.