“What’s the objective of learning the humanities: literary works, ‘languages’, philosophy, history and the arts?” You see, hordes of directors orchestrating the financing and therefore developing the framework of college have insisted that it’s essential to develop our universities around the study of “useful” topics, mainly math, chemistry and the managing of international currency, to the near exemption of the humanities. I do not think it’s such a hot idea.
Administrators who market education as a ticket to success instead of interpreting it as process to learning are, basically, suggesting for the training of employees rather than for the training and learning of people. Of course we want our children to discover useful and successful work when they graduate from college, if indeed they are lucky enough to have been able to be present at one. But, we also need to remember that a real education is not simply the acquisition of a set of skills. Each of us, regardless of birth or class, should get to be part of the bigger discussion that life provides. Ever pay attention to what the people who really run things discuss? CEOs, CFOs, political figures from all parties, designers of both ball gowns and software, lyricists, technicians, physicians, art gallery curators and manufacturers of non-reality-based TV programming? They do not talk about work: They find mutual understanding in life. They talk about books, movies, art, music and poems. Maybe they talk about the roller derby; it depends on the audience. You will find physicians studying Alice Munro and technicians grieving the loss of Lou Reed while comparing him to Leonard Cohen.
And there is another reason to study poetry: As one sincere buddy announced, the study of literary works can be validated by the fact that nobody ever thrilled a lady by reciting a formula. Public universities and colleges are in particular risk of contorting and, at their most severe moments, crippling their student body if they define themselves as merely a way for learners to get better jobs. In such a caged perspective, universities are in risk of becoming service institutions: We will train the Workers of the World, sure, only we will not give them anything in the humanities to merge them, motivate them, sensitize them or enlighten them.
As learners look for ways to make education more affordable, there is an obvious chance that learners and their parents seem unacquainted with, the College Level Examination Program, or CLEP assessments. These assessments allow learners to be able to test out of up to 33 college level programs. That can convert to up to 45 units. Many of these programs such as chemistry, calculus, geometry, history and humanities, are required by almost all colleges and universities and some trade schools. These are programs that college-bound learners should already be taking in high school. Students who are doing well in these topics in secondary school should be able to successfully pass these programs, with little or no training, if they just study hard while in high school, but training and practice assessments are available.
The price of a unit of study at Northern State University is $133 per unit for citizens, so a three-unit class would cost about $400, not keeping track of the guides and various other fees. The CLEP examination costs $80. The big advantages come when you take enough CLEP examinations to equal a term or more of college tuition. For each term of classes you could miss at NSU, you would save their approximately $12,363, if you live at home, or the more likely $18,821 if you live on campus. Because NSU is one of the more cost-friendly colleges, you would save even more if you choose more expensive universities. As they say on the College Level Examination Program website, “you do the math.”
Within a 200-mile distance of Aberdeen, the site identifies 32 organizations that agree to CLEP examinations. Regionally, they include NSU and Presentation College. South Dakota State University, University of Sioux Falls, Dakota State University and Augustana also agree to these assessments. Even Lake Area Tech allows them. If you are looking outside the state, more than 2,900 universities and colleges accept these examinations. Another real benefit comes in time. Every term, the college student can “CLEP out of” is a term they could be making profits and getting real-life experience. Real education happens when you interact with what you have learned in the class room with actual life problems.
Despite research to the contrary, many people, teachers often included, continue to claim that no person of perceptive benefit ever discovered anything of worth in the history of distance learning. This is my reaction to that foolish prejudicial notice that it requires a lecture area and a bell tower to make a university. Studying occurs within your head, not within an educational setting. This helps describe why graduate students of distance learning and communication degree programs have, for more than a century, gone on to win Nobel awards, found business empires and write literary works worth international popularity. One need only look into the record of distance learning to locate several big-name graduates. So, here’s a look at how distance learning evolved during the years.
- 1840 – Isaac Pitman teaches shorthand by correspondence in the UK.
- 1858 – The University of London creates External Program.
- 1883 – New York State authorizes the Chautauqua Institute to award degrees earned via correspondence.
- 1891 – The Colliery Engineer School of Mines renames itself International Correspondence Schools.
- 1892 – The University of Chicago starts administering the first university courses by mail.
- 1906 – The Calvert School of Baltimore becomes the first primary school in the United States to offer correspondence courses.
- 1916 – The National University Continuing Education Association is created in the United States.
- 1921 – Pennsylvania State College begins broadcasting courses on the radio.
- 1933 – The University of Iowa begins broadcasting courses on television.
- 1950 – The Ford Foundation begins offering grants to create and develop educational programs for television broadcasting.
- 1967 – The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is created.
- 1970 – Walden University is established.
- 1974 – California State University offers a Masters degree via correspondence.
- 1982 – The National University Teleconferencing Network is established.
- 1984 – The personal computer is named “man of the year” by Time Magazine.