Earlier this month, David Brooks, the well-known New York Times columnist, published an op-ed entitled, “The Practical University”. In the context of the rapidly-expanding world of online education, Mr. Brooks is correct when he states that we are forced to ask the question, “What is a university for?” His answer: “…universities are places where young people acquire two sorts of knowledge, technical… and practical.” To date, some 452 individuals have either submitted comments about Mr. Brooks’ answer to that question, or have weighed in themselves on this critical matter.
It is difficult to know if MOOC’s (Massive Open On-line Courses) are a conspiracy to undermine the Academy or mankind’s final redemption, a way to open the avenues of higher education. However one sees it, millions of people are already taking on-line courses. There is a revolution taking place driven by technology and cost controls. Where it will end up is anyone’s guess, but ultimately the success of this innovation will depend on measured competencies.
Virtual Schools primarily teach students in online classrooms. And while many traditional schools use online teaching materials to broaden instruction, a virtual school usually operates for students unable to attend a regular school.