Pay one price and take all you want. That’s the idea behind StraighterLine’s alternative to college education. It’s a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of college courses. And the fee is $99/month.
“StraighterLine is the brainchild of a man named Burck Smith, an Internet entrepreneur bent on altering the DNA of higher education as we have known it for the better part of 500 years,” Washington Monthly remarks about the school’s creator.
He’s completely shifting the way we attend school. While a class at a time suits the learning style of many students, there are just as many who want to ingest the information, take the test and keep moving. And for those who want credentials, not four or five years of traditional college experience, then StraighterLine will be quite appealing. And while students will be able to walk away with that piece of paper so much more quickly, and for far less money, critics say it’s taking away some of the finer points of a higher education. Again, Washington Monthly remarks that it will “seriously threaten the ability of universities to provide all the things beyond teaching on which society depends: science, culture, the transmission of our civilization from one generation to the next.”
For the students finishing the degrees and not being bogged down with student loan debt, they’ll shrug their shoulders and say they got all of that in the real world, in the school of hard knocks.
For now, it appears that course selection at StraighterLine is limited to 11 courses. But if this really does catch on, they’ll likely expand. Students now can take accounting, economics, college algebra, developmental writing, English composition and business statistics. Courses are designed by individuals with PhDs.
Students attend courses exclusively online, where they have access to all course materials, videos, podcasts and exams. There are study groups online where students can IM and collaborate with one another. And no further than the click of a mouse, students can interact with tutors.
One further benefit – students work at their own pace. Meaning you really can stretch that $99/month. Take one course or four – whatever you’re able to handle and pay no more and no less.