In order to give full coverage to this controversial topic, we might as well start our deliberations at University level, observe where it hurts, while going over to what causes textbook ills and finally the crisis in college education in the United States – as outlined below.
What ails the Universities and how it disrupts higher education?
Renowned European University On Sale (to the highest bidder) – The picture may not be as grim as this, but universities that have always been emblems of higher education and erudition are now under siege from multiple constituents.
These include students that are no more interested in enrolling themselves (preferring cheaper Distance Learning Institutes); parents that are reluctant to pay exceptionally high fees; government nominees that are at loggerheads with the faculty while running the show and many more insurmountable problems – as expressed by professional essay writers.
However, does this mean that universities are about to be disrupted the way Kodak, Blockbuster, Sears all now in bankruptcy, were disrupted? Though there is a fair chance of these revered institutions being subjected to such fate as the following optional yet realistic situations might provoke, nevertheless can survive if immediate restorative measures are taken by them.
Courses offered by others as against those that are practiced at universities
Hybrid or Blended Courses offered by online educational institutions may be defined as a combination of the offline and online courses or mode of learning.
This involves two significant elements such as an interactive environment to learn in, as well as acquiring a sense of purpose vis-à-vis control over what he/she is learning. The former, which is the learning platform, serves its online characteristic, while the latter which is provided by the teacher serves as its offline aspect.
Also, the term is generally used to describe courses in which the conventional face-to-face or eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the teacher and the person who receives such teaching has been replaced by online learning activities. To be more precise, its intention and purpose solely lie in integrating face-to-face and online learning.
The basic ideas were to reinforce and to complement one another, in place of treating the online part of it as something being taken as additional of what has been taught in the classroom. Needless to say, such a form of teaching is not practiced in conventional universities.
- Open University Courses (involving distance learning), and qualifications ranging from Certificates, Diplomas that entail short courses up to Undergraduate and PG Degrees. So, if you are in search of a flexible way to study as also acquiring the recognition of a degree from an American university, here are a few that offer distance learning programs:
- Boston University has developed, over the years, a reliable online learning environment for higher education.
- University of California, Berkeley has founded the Berkeley Resource Centre for online Education (BRCOE) which is a resource center that coordinates online education initiatives, both from credit and non-credit courses, to online degrees.
- Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) provides online degrees in areas comprising Engineering, Computer Science and others.
What’s gone wrong with Textbooks?
To begin with, the prices of college textbooks have been going up in leaps and bounds since the late seventies, publishers coming up with excuses that range from higher production cost to replacement of black and white illustrations with full-color graphic on the plea that students prefer books with color prints than those without these.
However, research tells a different story. According to a study conducted in 2016, it was observed that serious students that read textbooks couldn’t care less whether the textbook contained black and white or colored illustrations. Moreover, a large group of students that bought used textbook hardly bothered about illustrations and were happy with plain text sans any cosmetic value added to it.
New edition – another stunt
Textbook publishers used another technique to raise the prices of textbooks by way of taking out a ‘New and fully edited’ version of the same textbook every year. In most cases, these bore no relevance to the text, save and except a few changes of words or phrases.
The funniest story comes from a medical student who acquired a 1972 edition of the famous GRAY’S ANATOMY, an essential book for students of medicine and was quite happy about it “since human beings have so far acquired no new bone structure,” and the legendary textbook on human anatomy was published decades ago.
eBook vs. conventional print book
Current day textbook publishers are also very much in favor of selling eBooks in place of conventional print books, not because of their inclination towards popularizing the technical invention but because of a simple way to make more money.
Experience has told them that the only way of restricting the buying and selling of used textbooks, a cost-effective measure practiced by most students to overcome financial stress was to rely on eBook that had no resale value.
However, the biggest issue with textbooks in the United States lies in monopoly trade as the entire market is controlled by 5 giants who can never be defeated, no matter how hard you may try.
The fate of College Education in the United States
It’s rueful yet true that a college degree brings much less to people who need more in Uncle Sam’s own country. This revelation came as a shock when made by economists Tim Bartik and Brad Hershbein.
Moreover, today’s undergraduate student has too much educational loan and a day is soon coming when he/she would not be able to pursue a college education. Besides, whatever the student may lack by way of being deprived of a college education would soon be achieved through social media platforms.