Online education providers and universities are now more than ever astonishingly uninvolved, courses offered to students to students and working professionals seeking to take online classes are abysmal at best and I am of the opinion that they do more harm than good. Let me explain. From the time of Aristotle (teaching Alexander the Great) to Confucius (and his many disciples, like everyone in China) teachers (and providers of classes) had a direct connection and there existed a definite feedback loop that allowed them to see and experience the end result of the stuff they were teaching to students, think about it. When a teacher, back in the day, taught a pupil, in a small town setting let’s say, the teacher was intricately acquainted with how successful or how much of a failure each student became from that teachers work, so their actions were monitored very closely. As the product that they churned out was something they could constantly measure. This live feedback loop not just made teachers aware of the value they were imparting but it allowed teachers to care about students and also change up the syllabus that they were teaching according to what they were seeing. The old way of imparting education allowed for calibration to happen and that is most imperative in a teaching arrangement. I am gonna explain why. Today, Universities and education providers (like Straighterline) offering classes to American students have figured out a very profitable and efficient way to make money, not qualms about that, we are all capitalists that’s fine. But in the process of their mad haste to make money they have decided to lower standards and insulate teachers (and the creators of syllabi) to act and work entirely insulated from the consequences of their actions. Online course provides, professors offering paid online classes and universities engaged in providing online class based degrees are nothing more than a bunch of rent seeking profiteers who have elevated themselves in to a position of being the ultimate ‘rubber stamps’.
Why Do Students Take Online Classes?
Good question, one I ask myself quite often, I can offer a few thoughts on why people feel compelled to sign up for online classes in alarmingly rising droves, but it’s a typical example of perverse incentives; the federal student loan situation (which is reaching an delirious climax) has created a sick incentive for students and working professionals, who have no actual need for classes to sign up for online classes merely to get loans for those classes and the free money situation has allowed for the online classes market to boom and boom and boom like never before. But, why take on an unnecessary loan and take a class online for a certificate that is useless to the person taking the class? Therein lies the rub, the education cartel which is comprised of universities, misguided govt. policy makers and corporate America has allowed the Taylorism of education to go full retard. And by that I mean, because of grade inflation and the misguided policies forced upon teachers (No Child Left Behind) – has brought the education system to a point where it’s nothing more than a joke (with a punch line that that only some in the US have gotten yet, but one that soon everyone else will get – leading to disastrous outcome for all participants), by forcing teachers to grade students higher merely to keep federal government money coming in to their school districts and by tacking tenure terms on to college passing out and student satisfaction ratings American academia has made for itself a vacuum where it can exist without ever having to be measured (or held to any real standard) by anyone but themselves. American education providers and universities providing online classes have thus found themselves the beneficiaries of an academic arms race, where any student or working professional has to pay them for certificates and degrees that lose value by the minute. And they (the people entering the work force, or hoping to) have to keep paying for these ever more elaborate, time consuming courses, degrees and certificates) because the American education system has decided to do away with any monitoring or independent measure of quality, so as degrees and grades keep losing their value, students feel the need to keep taking more and more classes, paid for with more and more student loans (some of which are getting written off by tax payers now, even better) so that they can keep or get jobs that that they can earn money from to keep paying for taking more and more classes for courses and degrees that have less and less value thanks to all the people who have them and the absolute lack of quality control that is now prevailing in academia. Congratulations ladies and gentlemen, you have engineered the perfect Ouroboros! A self-perpetuating and reinforcing system that allows a few to prosper (opportunistic organizations and highly placed people in academia) at the cost of the masses (students and working professionals, the people who have to take classes because they have no choice) – and this wonderful parasitic arrangement is bad for us as a country in several ways, I’ll let you figure that out on your own.
Whenever participants in a system are allowed to function without having to be responsible for the consequences of their actions (like when a professor gets paid regardless of whether one of that professors students finds a job or not) Moral hazard is bound to arise (a term in economic theory that is used to describe a situation where a party is considerably more likely to take risks as they are sure that the potential costs or burdens of taking those risks will be borne, in whole or in part, by others) and because American academia is held in such high regard and because they have been able to engineer for themselves unchecked influence and unquestionable (do you see any student taking classes with you haggling over tuition? Me neither) these institutions entrusted with education the new generation has been allowed to phone it in and make more money than ever. A recent situation where moral hazard caused immense loses that I can remember is the 2008 economic crisis, when mortgage brokers and realtors and bankers found themselves in the enviable position of being able to give loans to people (free money, really) without ever having to worry if those people they were giving loans to would be able to pay it back. That moral hazard caused mortgage brokers and bankers to give out loans at a pace that was unprecedented in our history and it brought about the collapse of the American economy – what did those bankers and mortgage brokers care? They got paid based on how many loans they gave out, not based on how many loans their clients paid back. Isn’t it weird that online class providers are now in the same boat, they make money regardless of whether they add real value to the eco-system and that is a danger that I think is going to cause systemic failure sooner rather than later.
If you are a student taking a class online, then check out NoNeedToStudy.com where you can basically pay someone to take your online class for you. Be sure to check out their website where students openly say ‘thank you NoNeedToStudy for taking my online class for me’. Yeah. Ouroboros.