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Distance Learning Defended

When something gets a bad rap from elites, it’s probably worth a second look. “Although online education is growing rapidly, many students still combine distance learning with traditional instruction,” David Bass writes [1] in a Clarion Call column distributed by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. “I was one of the few who earned my bachelor’s degree exclusively through the Internet, without setting foot in a college classroom.”

“My school of choice was Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey.” Bass is an Investigative reporter and associate editor for Carolina Journal. “I made a decision early on that college was about getting a piece of paper, not an education,” Bass writes. “My goal wasn’t to become a better-rounded individual, or even to gain a greater understanding of my major area of study.”

“Rather, it was to gain the educational credential that employers now use as a screening device for most jobs. And my experience confirmed what I had expected—that post-secondary education today has only a lackluster ability to provide real value aside from that credential.”

“I don’t mean to say that I had no interest in studying or working hard in school. To the contrary, I found college easy but dull. I preferred to pursue my chief educational goal—learning the craft of journalism—through non-standard methods. I learned far more from reading books independent of coursework, practicing writing, and sitting under the tutelage of professional journalists than I ever did through college classes.”

It should be noted that at the John Locke Foundation, which publishes the Carolina Journal, Bass is working with some fine mentors indeed.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [2].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [3]