I could while away the hours
consultin’ with the flowers
conferrin’ with the rain.
And my head I’d be scratchin’
while my thoughts were busy hatchin’
if I only had a brain!
I have become an eStudent. I am seeking a baccalaureate of science through an accredited, degree-granting, non-profit institution; Western Governors University. And I’m doing so completely over the Web.
WGU has no actual campus; the classes exist only in the ether. All communication is effected electronically, with lessons, exams, and other assessments occurring online. Conversations and meetings with instructors (called “mentors”) and other students are conducted over the phone and/or via webcam. Almost all texts are eBooks. Instead of carrying a backpack or book bag, an eReader is used. Study groups are conducted in SNS chat rooms.
While some would have difficulty with such a paradigm, I myself find this methodology ideal. I have no need to be at a physical locus. I can schedule class time to fit perfectly within my daily routine regardless of how busy I may be with other tasks. The program is accelerated, allowing me to matriculate through the learning process at whatever pace I desire (I would note here that my intention is to finish within eighteen months!). There is no need for pre- or co-requisites, as all subjects are competency demonstrated. This means the difficulty level is quite high, though transferred credit and real life, i.e. work, experience (authenticated by proficiency testing) can eliminate the need for re-taking some subject matter.
Other advantages include an elimination of need for infrastructure maintenance and associated support personnel, out-of-state tuition, and/or geo-location requirements. Very soon the school’s library will offer up to 85% of necessary textbooks. Since the educational resource center is virtual, there are no instances of lack of limited copies due to their having been checked out. All of these reduce the cost of attending college, allowing those with limited financial resources the ability to obtain an education and increase the likelihood of augmented income potential. This in turn enhances the workplace talent pool, supplements community welfare as well as the associated tax base, supports the overall economy, and may reduce the unemployment percentage by providing an augmented skill set to industry.
No longer are disabilities, domestic needs, and an inability to be present at campus roadblocks to formal erudition. Just as Guttenberg’s printing press enabled access to books, so soon will being an eStudent provide an educational contingency to the masses heretofore denied. This great evolution will tear down barriers, which in the past have stymied the progress of those whose desire is to achieve post secondary indoctrination and scholarship. This is yet another way in which Social Media has proven benevolence to modern day society. The eStudent is on the bleeding edge of catechism, and rides the wave of the future of cultivation and enlightenment.