Monday, July 24, 2017

Why Online Liberal Arts Colleges are a Good Thing

At first I was pissed.

I viewed online courses and the internet much like I do telecommuting - it was an innovation that would lead to genuine, revolutionary changes that would DRASTICALLY improve the lives of millions of Americans.  Telecommuting would eliminate rush hour, lower companies' lease expenses, and improve family stability beyond what any government program ever could.  It would usher in a new golden age of America, and its people would live dramatically improved lives for it.

Ergo, just like telecommuting held great promise for humanity, so to did online colleges and education.

The BEST teachers would offer the BEST classes at nearly ZERO expense to the world's ENTIRE student population, and all governments would have to do is set up some kind of certification board for people to test for their degrees.

Students would no longer have to commute.
Students could learn at their own pace.
Colleges and universities would have to jettison their worthless administrators and adult-children-do nothing professors.
The tax payer would no longer have to finance around half a TRILLION a year in student debts.
And the price of college would drop from $125,000 to free.

If governments truly cared about students and "the children" they would have implemented this 10 years ago, but the point still remains that online classes and online education can eliminate what is easily the largest hurdle facing young people today to get an education.

Some progress has been made with schools like Western Governors University and ASU Online, accredited colleges offering real degrees for a fraction of the cost of their brick and mortar counterparts.  And the IT world has always shown the online/self education to be a perfectly feasible and working model where certifications, and not degrees, land you jobs.  But when Coursera offered classes in "Social Justice Parasitism" I got pissed.

Forget that these classes operate from the false and arrogant premise that worthless, lazy, but above all else, stupid students, too lazy to major in STEM or something legitimate, are smart enough, let alone have the right, to "change the world."

Forget that these degrees are merely the entrance to an entire world of make-work government and non-profit jobs so these worthless people can feel like they're real adults, working real jobs.

And forget that deep down inside the people in these industries are simply the evil and parasitic among us.

My main complaint was how could Coursera, presumably one of the spearheads to eliminating the evil known as "Big Education," succumb to offering such worthless, evil, and parasitic classes to the easily duped students of today?  How could an entity that knows it's origin is founded in the noble purpose of making education cheaper to students, turn around and sell naive teens and 20 somethings this poison that has ruined the lives of millions?  Lila Ibrahim, and the executive staff of Coursera should be ashamed of themselves for dealing what is nothing more than the addictive mental drug of worthless degrees.

But then I received an e-mail.

It was a link to an article by Dr. Jordan Peterson, wherein he talked about his new goal to offer liberal arts degrees online for free.  His Patreon donations earn him roughly $40,000 a month, and with the modern technological power of the internet, he intends to, much like Western Governors, offer real degrees in the humanities and the liberal arts at a cost of near zero (unfortunately, I cannot find this article or link, so if anybody has it, please comment below).

This made me rethink my opposition to liberal arts education from one of principles to that of machiavellianism and practicality.

Yes, liberal arts degrees, especially the social justice warrior slop Coursera is serving up, are worthless, pointless, even damaging to the students naive enough to take them.  Yes, these courses/degrees will ruin their lives, at minimum sending them down the career path of poverty and e-begging, at worst replacing family, love, freedom, and excellence with a fervent ideological addiction to socialism.  And yes, you can learn this slop for free, with the exact same employment prospects, as going to the library and reading ALL the liberal arts/Marxist books you want.

But what do I care?

First, students stupid and arrogant enough to major in the liberal arts, let alone social justice, deserve the lives they choose.  They'll soon find out the real world needs Python programmers, not social justice activists.

But more importantly, second, if liberal arts and humanities degrees are offered online, AND it catches on with prospective and college bound students, it will DESTROY the largest and most vital organ of the left - academia.

If Dr. Peterson or Coursera or ASU want to offer worthless humanities and liberal arts degrees, let them.  One online college can do the work of a score of Middlebury's and Evergreen's.  If efficient and well-programmed enough, a mere handful of online colleges could wipe out ALL the liberal arts colleges across the world.  And thus, instead of the millions of professors, deans, vice chancellors, chancellors, diveristy directors, vice diversity directors, Women's Studies managers, diversity program managers that currently vampire $500 billion a year out of America's youth and taxpayers, you'd have around 50 offering the same education at nearly $0.  This would send the worthless vermin of academia out on the street where they'd have to e-beg, apply for government grants, apply to non-profits, or GASP!!!!...apply for real jobs!

Of course, I argue that you won't totally get rid of brick and mortar liberal arts colleges.  Too many students attend college for the "college experience," viewing it more as a birthright and party, than a serious and determined investment in education and one's future career.  But even if you can dupe half the naive high school juniors and seniors to earn their liberal arts degrees online, it spells doom for the leftist, parasitic denizens of professional academia today.  And if Trump and the Republicans in congress wish to hasten this doom, there's nothing better they can do than start certifying online liberal arts programs as accredited, perhaps even replacing degrees with a government certification board.

Though I know, that is asking for too much competence of the republican party.  Oh well, Enjoy the Decline.
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Tucanae Services said...


As an instructor myself I have a slightly different take on the matter. Books, as currently structured are a rip. I have seen books, 3rd edition, 15th printing. That means that the true cost for the book is its cost of pulp not its intellectual content. That was long amortized by the publisher. At best its $15 for the pulp but $100 for the book. Even allowing for IP and ancillary costs its $30 tops.

My target cost would be $5-10 for an ebook. You get 4-5 subject matter experts together. They produce the content. Contract graphic artist and editor. Top stuff. It would not be beyond the realm that each SME would earn $1m for their participation in the effort. Its a win for the student, instructor, a loss for publishers and institutions.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that good online colleges, like good private schools, are only allowed to exist because they implicitly legitimize the mainstream degenerate institutions. "Not all schools are like that" becomes a meme but no one ever notices that the good schools, or good anything for that matter, are not allowed to ever genuinely threaten the real powers.

Kraemer said...

Not an article, but it's the most reliable source that the googs would yield:

grey enlightenment said...

I'm partial to the idea of leftist professors having to use patreon (or some form of voluntary donation system) instead of taxpayer dollars. If they , these leftists, think their social justice is so valuable, put it to the test in the marketplace like everything else.

Anonymous said...

The coding bootcamp bubble is now bursting:

Watch from 6.20.

Anonymous said...

"But then I received an email reminding me that Lila Ibrahim's last name is 'Ibrahim.'"

John Lang said...

Tangential remark -- As the British politician Lord Taverne puts it, speaking of himself: ‘a classical education teaches you to despise the wealth it prevents you from earning.

Henry said...

Henry said...

Anonymous said...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. During the early Renaissance, parents feared that a university education would corrupt their sons. That is, they feared that the spiritually-oriented professors would convince their sons to become priests--rather than merchants, as the parents wished.