Mention online education around some of my friends and you will get an emotional reaction. Some senior university faculty members teach classes filled with several hundred students and they worry that famous online lecturers could take their places. Others wonder if they can transfer their talents to the on-line market and, if so, how much compensation they can demand for their extra efforts.
Public school advocates worry that private businesses will persuade decision makers to replace more expensive traditional classroom-based instruction with programs delivered directly to students’ computers. The result, they fear, will be high profits to the providers and a loss of hands-on support from classroom teachers and fellow students.
Whatever our worries about on-line education, our state should be braced for changes. Governor Pat McCrory’s challenging remarks about the role of universities, discussion of further drastic cuts in the higher education budget, new proposals for education vouchers, consideration of approval for off-site, profit-making charter schools, and a host of other possible “improvements” let everyone know that change, big change, is coming.