WWW = World Wide Web

WWW = Wild Wild West

As I continue my summer of inquiry around distance education policy and practice in higher education, I posit (for now, at least), that for institutions of higher education, the World Wide Web is still like the Wild Wild West. WWW = WWW.

What brings me to that conclusion today? Consider these four articles, all published just today (click on the headline to read the full article):

 

KEY QUOTE:

The question of whether the move presents a meaningful advantage to students navigating the labyrinthine landscape of online program prices remains to be answered. States have taken steps in recent years to offer legislative solutions to fees for online programs.

Proponents of more straightforward pricing models often point to fees that online students pay — such as for parking, for instance — despite not getting to take advantage of the attached services. Calculating the impact of a price change like this can be difficult, since every student’s experience is different.

KEY QUOTE:

Those tweaks addressed enough of the California Teachers Association’s concerns that it is no longer opposed outright to the online community college, according to a spokesperson for the union. The union is waiting on other stakeholders to weigh in before deciding whether to issue full support, the spokesperson said.

The Assembly, on the other hand, felt this new proposal didn’t fundamentally resolve its most pressing question: Why a new entity?

KEY QUOTE:

Marylhurst University’s closure resulted from:

(a) Enrollment declines attributable mainly to changes in the job market.

(b) Increased competition from bigger, more visible players in the online and adult-serving markets.

(c) Poor decisions by university leaders, including bets on unlikely projects.

(d) All of the above.

KEY QUOTE:

Walmart executives said they did not know how much the program would cost the company, which last year had $486 billion in revenue, but said they expected as many as 68,000 employees to sign up in the first five years. Annual tuition and fees at the three schools ranged from $7,365 at Bellevue University to $28,658 for out-of-state students at the University of Florida, according to U.S. News & World Report.

In other words, nobody knows what to do about fee structures for distance education courses and programs. And, nobody really knows why California needs a standalone online community college. And, nobody really knows what caused Marylhurst College to close. And, how many Walmart employees will benefit from a $1/day online program? Nobody knows.

Thus, if there’s a theme across these articles about distance education in higher education, it’s this:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯