In case you missed it (and there is a good chance you did), a blog called Accredited Online Colleges ran a little article called 9 Signs Self-Publishing is Out of Control. I am firmly of the belief that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, even when that opinion is stupid and completely wrong.
This article begins with these well-balanced lines: “To paraphrase the immortal words of Truman Capote, there’s a difference between writing and typing. And, to put it gently, we can say with a good amount of confidence that most self-published books were typed, not written. Because communicating with letters assembled into words is a skill most learn by the age of 5, and because written communication has become so ubiquitous in American life, everyone now thinks he’s a writer.”
Why, with such impervious reasoning as that, one might also wonder if anyone with a computer now thinks he’s a blogger. I won’t quote anything further from the article (the link is there if you’d like to have a look). Neither will I conduct a line-by-line vivisection of the deeply flawed reasoning put forth in the article, tempting as that may be.
I do find it fairly dripping with irony. Here the anonymous author takes exception to the technology that has allowed the Philistines to call themselves authors. Presumably, the author is all right with the same technology when put to the purpose of creating accredited online colleges. Yet, the preponderance of the author’s arguments can be applied equally against accredited online colleges. All of this begs the question: Are accredited online colleges out of control? (McNally, did you notice I capitalized after the colon there?) The sad answer to this question is an unqualified yes.
9 Signs Accredited Online Colleges are Out of Control
1. The term “accredited” means nothing.
There is no innate legal and universally applied meaning to the word “accredited.” Accredited by whom and for what? I just accredited myself. Are you reading this article? You just earned three credit hours in Snarkology from the Indies Unlimited accredited online college.
2. Accredited online universities contribute to the denigration and dilution of higher education.
Higher education used to actually have value. That was way back when the purpose was to instruct students how to think rather than what to think. The quality of higher education today is already too low in part because there are not enough qualified and capable faculty to teach at the number of schools already in place. There are more than enough actual colleges and universities in this country. Do we really need a new bottom rung on a ladder that already has too many?
3. Student verification in an accredited online college is impossible.
How does an entity that interacts with students exclusively in a virtual environment know who is actually taking their courses? If a student isn’t sitting hungover in the classroom right in the presence of an actual professor, how can we be sure who is being taught or if any education is happening at all?
4. There is no accountability in an accredited online college.
These entities can be revealed as scam operations, close down and re-open under a new name without the “faculty” even having to change their pajamas. What are you going to do about it, virtually sue them? Kick their asses in Worlds of Warcraft?
5. The faculty are questionably credentialed.
How do you know anything about the so-called faculty of an accredited online college? Why aren’t these people working at real colleges? Are they too ugly to go out in public? Are they subject to restraining orders that keep them from physical proximity with other people? Who knows? They don’t put that in their little online brochures, do they?
6. Student labs and field studies are laughable.
Online professor: “Did you mix the two chemicals as described in the exercise?”
Student: “Um… sure.”
Online professor: “And how did that work?”
Student: “Great, I guess.”
Online professor: “Okay then. You pass.”
7. The credits are often not transferable to a real college.
Call up the Registrar’s office at any actual college and tell them you’d like to transfer a semester of credits from your accredited online college. You know what you’ll hear? BWAHAHAHA! *click*
8. A degree from an accredited online college has no real currency or value.
I happen to hold a doctorate from the University of Haiti’s “Baby Doc” Duvalier School of Dentistry and Despotism—an accredited online college. Has that helped me land a top-flight job in the housekeeping or food service industries? No. That’s six weeks and four hundred bucks I’ll never get back.
9. There are far too many accredited online colleges, cranking out far too many unqualified graduates.
The glut of so-called college graduates has already demeaned and diminished the relevance of having a diploma. Too many niche degrees in Mime Sociology and Cetacean Massage Therapy have poisoned the well, yet thousands more people each year are run through these glorified paper mills with no prospects except to pursue a career in politics. Well, I certainly hope they don’t try to become indie authors. We have enough problems apparently.