Skeptical About Online Courses

Penn State political science professor Matthew Woessner (who has been playing the Sam Adams role with regard to fomenting opposition to the university’s Big Brotheresque health-care changes) is not at all sure that online courses will alleviate the problem of politicization and argues his case in this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call.

His sparring partner in the piece is me, since I have written favorably about the prospect that online courses can give students better options than they find among the courses taught on campus. I still think so. Woessner is no doubt correct that some students will simply look for whatever course seems to be the easiest (no matter where offered), but I don’t think he’s right in thinking that the forces of political correctness will be able to block all online courses that don’t adhere to the standard leftist shibboleths. Therefore, those students who want challenging courses without the overlay of politics will be able to get them. The online revolution won’t give us a total cure for the disease, but will, I believe, considerably relieve the symptoms.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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