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Campus meets keyboard

With many Americans choosing online courses as an alternative to traditional schooling, some scholars are speaking out against the option as a controversial development that promises to shake up the practice, regulation and funding of college education, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
With many Americans choosing online courses as an alternative to traditional schooling, some scholars are speaking out against the option as a “controversial development that promises to shake up the practice, regulation and funding of college education,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The Feb. 3 article quotes Moris Berman, author of “The Twilight of American Culture,” with saying online learning represents “the extreme commercialization of higher education,' and technology historian David Noble calling it a development that threatens “the sacred space of the classroom.”

The debate will become more than theoretical this spring as lawmakers review the Higher Education Act, which includes a 1992 law withholding low-interest, deferred-payment federal tuition loans from students at colleges whose on-campus enrollment is below 50 percent. Several bills propose easing the rule, which was created to keep federal aid from being used by “diploma mills.”

Critics say the rule hurts students completing accredited online courses.

At the heart of the matter is the debate over whether students should be able to obtain degrees through distance learning only, without any classroom experience. Critics argue that the quality of education is not as high when only electronic media are used. Proponents point to the earning power of their graduates.

To read the story in its entirety, visit http://www.christiansciencemonitor.com/2004/0203/p12s03-legn.html.