Academic fads are a real pain in the ass. The most pressing problem in higher education in the United States is academic fads. Assessment, shared governance, first year experiences, residential colleges, whatever the flavor of the month. If you can sell it, you can become an assistant dean of idiotic administration. Some people literally weasel their way into creating bureaucracies within universities devoted to their pet academic fad! Online education is the latest one, and it’s spurred by interest groups selling bullshit privatized degrees (and copping most of their coin from Federal student aid). My buddy Mike Humphries and I were lamenting this today. Why the fuck should a real university even try to compete with some online diploma mill? Indeed, why should it even try to use these technologies? The whole fucking educational system is now stratified not only by who does or does not go to college, but also by who does and does not go to a REAL college! Ask your local or global capitalist if they are going to hire someone from the University of ” Phoenix”. Universities need to confront this problem directly and advertise the fact that, for example, our humble department of sociology would not admit a student to our graduate program if their degree was done online.
I just met a dozen or so really bright young people engaging important topics at our SIU Sociology Club meeting. I’m really glad we have Cathy Field helping with our undergrads, and what that means is that these people get set straight and have access to real honest to fuck sociologists who do research and publish shit and stuff. And maybe some of these young people might aspire to do likewise. And, I’ve seen our undergraduates go on to get PhDs and become tenured sociologists. You don’t get that online. You never will. The children of your corporate overlords do not have online degrees.