Online Colleges: The Downside

Yesterday, I posted a comparison of online and traditional colleges. An opinion piece. Now, the downside of these online schools.

The first thing is cost. Getting a two year degree from one of these online schools can cost you around $20,000. Just for an AA! It’s not because that’s what it costs to get you through the two years, either. Most all of these schools fall in to the “for-profit” category, which President Obama is currently considering new regulations on. Let’s look at the facts.

  • No traditional campuses From my understanding, when these schools say they have a campus in Charlotte, NC (just an example), they actually do have a small campus where they run groups of students through courses. These campuses are supposedly always available to online students, but they are spread too far apart to be useful to the student body as a whole.
  • Most of the instructors limit the time they commit to the students I’ve seen this one personally. An instructor is either overburdened with multiple classes, or teaches at a traditional university. The result is: slow grading and interaction with students. The instructors should be held to the same standards as the students, such as a set number of posts to the discussion forums per week that are equal to the amount required of the students, and a close deadline for grading.
  • The counselors While they are all excellent at what they do, they are limited. Counselors for University of Phoenix, for example, can only ask Axia to do a review on a teacher. Once they’ve done that review, they simply get a “pass” or “fail” type answer from what I’ve heard. How are they supposed to help the students if they can’t, you know…help the students?

I’m sure some of this isn’t just limited to the online for-profit universities, but when you’re charging so much for courses shouldn’t you be held to a much higher standard?