Tag Archives: community college

Benefits of Online Education

There are many benefits of online education for students of any age. While many may think that the benefits of online education are just for college students, that is no longer with the case with increases in educational technology. Now, students just entering kindergarten to high school students can also take advantage of the benefits of online education. Keep reading to find out more about how to find online education programs that are perfect for you or your child to be able to enroll in the benefits of online education.

Many can get an education online now with various courses that are available via the Internet. Homeschool students especially can take advantage of the benefits of online education with many of their classes. These online educational opportunities can be used as the entire homeschooling curriculum or can be used to supplement courses taught by parents or tutors. To further look into these options, it is important to check out options that are offered by an accredited institution in order to make sure the online school and course list are legitimate. It is important to check with your state department of education to make sure the online courses match whatever state requirements there are in order to receive credit for the course.

When it comes to online education for high school students, there are many benefits of online education. High school students are required to have so many credits in order to graduate. There are times when a student might fail the class the first time, or a required class might be difficult to work with the student’s schedule. This is the perfect opportunity for students to take the class online in order to make up the credit or take the course on their own time so that it works with their class schedules. Students might also want to take an online course that is not offered at their high school like a foreign language or skills course. Getting to take these added courses are just part of the benefits of online education. Through online courses, high school students also have the option to take more advanced preparatory classes or college courses during high school to earn college credit early. Just be sure to check out the credentials of the online school to ensure the courses are legitimate and will qualify for college credits upon transfer to a community college or university.

For online education and college students, most colleges or universities offer a plethora of courses that can be taken at any time by the student. This is great for distance learning when the college student cannot afford to live on campus or to drive to school every day. Many college students also have to work full-time in order to afford their college education. Courses can be difficult to schedule around a work schedule, which is why the benefits of online education greatly extend to college students in this type of a situation. Online education during the summer semester to make up missing credits is also one of the great benefits of online education.

In addition to college students, high school and home school students, those who are wishing to simply learn new information or expand their knowledge base can greatly benefit from an online education. There are many reasons why a person should take advantage of the benefits of online education including:

  • Convenience and flexibility. Students with jobs or families find school difficult because it is hard to work around preexisting schedules. With the benefits of online education, this is no longer an issue.
  • Pacing. Online education allows a student to work more at their own pace compared to that of traditional classes.
  • Lack of commute. This is great for students who don’t live close to a college or university, or for those home-schooled students.
  • More choices. There are more choices when it comes to variety of courses and subjects than traditional schooling.

Overall, there are many benefits of online education that anyone can take advantage of while pursuing their education. It is important to remember to check out each online school to ensure they are legitimate and that the courses offered will count toward the high school curriculum or college credits.

Community College Developments

Community colleges made the news several times this week for reasons associated with budget, but with two very different outcomes. In Arizona, USA Today reports the approach of a mainly online community college that has revamped its course texts in “Arizona college cuts textbook costs the old-fashioned way.” Rather than shifting to ebooks to save students from expensive textbooks, Rio Salado College allowed its 26 full-time, on-campus faculty to designate one text for all sections of a course, even those sections taught by the over 1000 off-campus faculty, who have no voice in the matter.

Because of the large numbers of identical books ordered, the college is able to cut a deal with a publisher—in this case Pearson—that saves students a lot of money.

Off campus instructors, all adjuncts, are able to personalize their sections of courses to a certain degree using the course learning management system, but there are serious limitations to this. However, with the change, students still have a physical book and it is estimated that they have saved $6 million in textbook expenses in the 2 1/2 years since the approach began.

It is worth noting that other colleges are moving entirely to ebooks (full disclosure: I’m trained as a reading clinician, and I find that approach problematic), and that the other colleges taking this approach are largely for-profits.

Community colleges are also the subject of a New York Times article “Community Colleges Cutting Back on Open Access.” This article reports on the over-enrollment and underfunding of community colleges that is leaving students who have begun a program—whether to achieve vocational goals or to complete enough courses to transfer into a 4-year program—stopped in their tracks. Course cuts have eliminated some courses that students need, and sometimes there isn’t room in the classes that are offered.

In short, the reality of the community college as an open access institution is failing.

But there are those ready to fill the gap, if they can. The New York Times also reported in “For-Profit Colleges Find New Market Niche” that Kaplan University, a for-profit, is offering those students who want to go to a California community college but have been wait-listed for admission or a class, a chance to take Kaplan online courses with a tuition discount…. a discount that means that the course only costs nearly 10 times as much as it would cost at a California community college. Princeton Review has a similar relationship with a Massachusetts community college, but charges only double the community college rate.

The faculty of the California college voted in the spring to urge that the understanding with Kaplan be withdrawn.

For background on community colleges, we invite you to check out our article “University vs. Community College.”

What Is the Value of Higher Education?

In the first half of June, online material discussing the value of higher education has been dramatically contradictory.This post will discuss some reasons behind this and some basic suggestions on how to understand the articles. I’ll take them in chronological order.

Article 1

On June 3, an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed called “Higher Education’s Big Lie” by Ann Larson, a writing fellow at Hunter College with a Ph.D. in English, argues that a) its debatable whether college degrees will be required by the majority of future jobs; b) many students who begin a college degree will not complete it, while many still do not have access to college; c) the investment in a college education may not pay off.

Larson exemplifies the third point with the story of a student who wracked up $60,000 in student loans and whose degree—from a private nonprofit college—did not give her access to the type of job that would allow her to repay the loan. She claims that academia is silent about the issue of unpayable college debt that many students face, although, she says, another writer for the same publication in which her article appears has documented it.

Her goal is to have everyone rethink the idea that higher education can “facilitate social mobility,” and sites a study from 2008 to support this, and in her conclusion, she claims, again, that “these are all factors unacknowledged in the push to convince people” to invest in higher education.

Article 2

On June 14, a brief note by Jacques Steinberg, a reporter who focuses on education, called “More Employers to Require Some College, Report Says” in the New York Times ‘Education’ section gives a summary of the “Help Wanted” report, released on June 14 by the Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), Georgetown University.

This article emphasizes the growing need of workers with at least an associate’s degree (a two-year degree, largely available at community colleges). Although the article quotes the study’s main author, Anthony P. Carnevale, as saying that “the demand for workers with postsecondary degree continues to surge,”—that is, not only associate’s degrees, Steinberg says nothing about any need for bachelor’s degrees.

Article 3

On June 15, Charles Wallace, a financial writer, contributed “Two-Thirds of All Future Jobs Will Require a College Education“—another summary of the CEW report—in AOL’s Daily Finance. This article shares statistical data from the report and quotes another author of the report, Jeff Strohl, several times.

Wallace reports that of the 47 million jobs created by the year 2018—a combination of new jobs and replacing workers who move on—some college training and/or an associate’s degree will be required for about 30 percent, and a bachelor’s degree will be required for about 33 percent. He adds that the study anticipates demand for workers with college degrees exceeding supply by 3 million by 2018, and that a Ph.D. is still worth more than a bachelor’s degree, with is worth nearly twice as much in lifetime earnings as a high school diploma.

Parsing the Articles

Article 1 is by a non-specialist, and it’s an opinion piece. It suffers from being published before important new information about the state of education and the job market was available, as well as from the use of old sources. Larson’s claim that nobody’s paying attention to students left with unpayable loans flies in the face of the large amount of attention being paid this year to this very problem in looking at for-profit schools, and undercuts her position.

Article 2 by Steinberg is simply too brief a summary that—both for brevity and by means of a slanted headline—casts the report in quite a different light than it appears when the data on bachelor’s degrees is taken into account.

In article 3, it appears that Wallace gave the report a closer read and a fairer shake, and—by using up-to-date information, discussing it at some length, and concentrating on data rather than anecdotes—appears to be the most useful take on the value of higher education of the three.

The study itself, “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018,” is available here. The Executive Summary states:

“America is slowly coming out of the Recession of 2007—only to find itself on a collision course with the future: not enough Americans are completing college . . . By 2018, we will need 22 million new workers with college degrees—but will fall short of that number by at least 3 million post-secondary degrees . . . At a time when every job is precious, this shortfall will mean lost economic opportunity for millions of American workers.”