Distance learning means knowledge delivered from a remote location to a remote location. Usually, but not always, this means using the Internet to deliver education. What was once the stuff of fancy is now a booming industry employing a growing number of college teachers who would otherwise find themselves on the dole. The next administration may want to increase the scope of distance learning to accommodate the coming spike in higher education student populations.
The question arises as to why college populations will spike in the near term. It is simply that unemployment will spike, and historically, unemployed citizens, especially the younger one, flock to digital college campuses during downturns in the economy. There seems to be little doubt that this new electronic academic medium will be the oxcart by which this crowed of eager aspirants will carried into the electronic education age. Simply put, the laptop as college campus is simply too cost efficient for any academic governing board to ignore. One is tempted to suggest that every new college student will be issued a spanking new laptop along with a login ID and a password.
Distance Learning as a Catch Basin
The next administration has identified two million Americans who could go to college, but for their inability to consummate the financial request paperwork. Apparently, the five-page, 127 questions form is too high a bar for these aspiring college degree seekers. There is little or no reason to quibble with this estimation because certainly the number of out of work citizens will zoom in the coming months and years, and what better place for them to spend their time than in an institution of higher learning. Surely, the state and the nation will much calmer if these hapless individuals are busy with distance learning.
Granted, the idea that colleges and universities are not catch basins for the nation's unemployed might gain some traction with gray beards and academic malcontents, but they and their ilk can be safely ignored as they will soon be put out to pasture. No, the future is coming, and with it comes educational opportunities for all by way of monetary help determined by last year's income tax form. If a prospective college student cannot navigate a five page questionnaire, the officiating bureaucrat can easily determine need by checking with the federal offices that record our annual income. In this way, the bureaucrat won't be bothered trying to read semi-literate scrawls.
Distance Learning is the Growth Area
It may be obvious to all and sundry, but in addition to the hordes of new college students on the way, there are tens of thousands of highly qualified college instructors in need of extra income. This is a marriage made in academic heaven. Public, private and for-profit institutions of higher learning will find this happy combination an economic godsend, and the general public, meaning prospective students, will be simply delighted at the sheer amount of activity distance learning will bring them in their pursuit of knowledge.