Online Classes and the Library

Newsweek has an Article on the new online programs digital diploma mills and online education in general. Libraries and Librarians need to be aware of the push to go online with classes. Are they sacrificing education in the name of profit?

\"Online schools say the instructional faculty (who have day jobs) are better able to connect with working adult students. But traditionalists say full-time faculty are as essential to a university as its library. To fight the practice, the American Association of University Professors is trying to prevent online colleges from winning accreditation.\"
College will always convey a certain image: Gothic buildings filled with postadolescents listening to tweed-clad professors. But the Internet is blurring that picture, and State U is quietly morphing into College.com. To be sure, a virtual university is no place for Felicity or her just-out-of-high-school friends; they want the full campus package, kegs and all. But \"typical\" college students—18 to 22 years old, living in dorms, studying full time—make up only 16 percent of enrollments today, says Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia University. They\'re far outnumbered by the 79 percent of adults who lack diplomas. Many of these folks have kids, work irregular hours or travel, which makes night school impossible. The result: millions of adults are dialing for diplomas. They\'re attending start-up schools you\'ve never heard of—and prestigious ones like Columbia, Stanford and Duke. By the end of the year, according to researchers at InterEd, 75 percent of all U.S. universities will offer online course work, and 5.8 million students will have logged on. Study any time! College has never been more convenient.

Many cybereducators hope to get rich in the process. Online courses constitute just $350 million of the $240 billion higher-education industry today, according to Merrill Lynch, but will grow to $2 billion by 2003.

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