Have you noticed? Colleges, universities, and local community colleges are making a swift transition toward online learning. Almost every day, there is some new announcement from an institution of higher learning about how they are now offering “this program” or “that course” completely online.
University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Warren Bebbington recently declared them to be. He said that the university recognized that if courses were available online, it was likely that students would choose that delivery method over lectures. In fact, he stated that the university might be phasing out lectures altogether!
If lectures become obsolete, and more and more information is delivered online, it stands to reason that the universities and colleges of the world will soon no longer have a “monopoly” on higher ed. Can you think of any information contained within the halls of academia that isn’t already available somewhere on the web? I cannot.
So, while it may take a little longer for the strong tradition of a formal college education to wane in popularity, more out-of-the-box thinkers are already exploring the multitude of options for post-high-school learning that is available – – and often for far less expense than a four-year liberal arts degree.
Blake Boles has been a long time proponent of making sure students are aware of the many alternatives to a traditional college degree. His book “Better Than College” does a terrific job of comparing the price of that diploma to the multitude of other educational pursuits that could be accomplished for likely far less.
And, it is no secret that some of the most successful entrepreneurs in modern society have made their mark without a piece of parchment from Yale, Columbia, or Cornell. Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s co-founders says “I learned early on that opportunity can be manufactured. When I was 19 years old, I had this full scholarship for excellence in the arts to UMass, but on the side I got a job moving boxes at a publishing company. When the art department went out to lunch one day, I snuck onto the art director’s machine and I designed a book jacket. I printed it out, matted it up for approval, and when the art director got back he wanted to know who had designed this cover.I said, ‘me.’ And he said, ‘the box kid?’ He offered me a job, so I decided to drop out of college.”
Homeschoolers are often already out-of-the-box thinkers. We’ve been doing this education thing differently for quite a while now. That means it may not be so difficult for us to imagine what it would be like to forego the long class registration lines, the sororities, the need-to-sell-a-kidney textbook prices, and the multitude of other hoops that traditional college students usually jump through.
For one thing, community colleges are making it easier than ever to accomplish a large part of your introductory college courses while you are still in high school. Then, there are all the colleges – – like University of Illinois, Kaplan University, and Penn State – – who offer not only bachelor’s degrees but master’s degrees from the comfort of your closest computer.
But, even if you don’t have the time, money, or attention-span for a complete online degree, you can still follow a career path, learn about any subject, and go after any goal – – often for free – – with online resources like:
It’s a fair question. Maybe you are wanting to pursue a career that currently is only validated by a certificate from a traditional, accredited college or university. Want to be a brain surgeon or a physics professor? You are likely still going to need to go the route of packing up the station wagon and heading off to those ivory halls. But that may not always be the case. In a couple more generations, it just may be that everyone homeschools college. Now wouldn’t that be something?