Distance Learning

Do online courses provide a good education?


Higher education in the United States is undergoing a virtual revolution. More than 1,600 postsecondary schools offer some 54,000 Internet-based courses to an estimated 1.6 million students enrolled in online courses and degree programs, not only at traditional colleges and universities but also at institutions that exist only in cyberspace. Critics say distance learning can't compare with traditional classroom instruction, that cyber students miss out on meaningful college experiences and that for-profit cyber-education ventures endanger academic freedom. But supporters say distance learning can make higher education available to “the other 99 percent” — all the world's people who don't go to college. Indeed, according to one prediction, distance learning will push the global demand for U.S. higher education to 160 million students by 2025.

Robin Stephan ...

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