Online Ed is a swindle. MnSCU endorses it. Corporate culture endorses it. Some faculty endorse it. Even students endorse it when it serves them to side-step a requirement. Part of the swindle has public ed selling off public resources to corporate interests under the guise of filling a gap. But the gap is between solid face to face education and lower quality DE. It can’t be filled, but there is money to be made in selling filler.
This swindle lies behind Carey’s essay. To save money, many universities are moving more heavily than ever before into online education, charging as much, sometimes, for their new courses as they do for their more costly (to the institutions) on-campus courses. Even public institutions are involved: They charge the same for online and hybrid (partly online and partly classroom) courses as they do for classroom-based ones, though it costs much less for the institutions to offer such courses. This saves so much money that the colleges and universities are loathe to signal that they are providing a lower-standard product through their online and hybrid catalogs. So, they maintain the fiction by charging the same for both. They want to keep that money coming in; they don’t feel they can afford to admit, through a separate pricing structure, that the online and hybrid courses are not on the same level of instruction as what goes on when the focus of education is at least three hours a week of personal “interface.”