What's the Latest Development?
StraighterLine, a company that has been offering low-cost accredited online courses since 2008, recently unveiled Professor Direct, a new feature that gives professors the ability to sell their courses directly to students. In addition to the cost of the class, they can also sell services, such as online office hours and grading extra assignments, separately. Most of the professors offering their courses are adjuncts who teach both online and in-person all over the US. On Wednesday, StraighterLine's core general ed curricula received an A grade from an independent evaluation group.
What's the Big Idea?
Adjunct professors currently make up over two-thirds of faculty members in two- and four-year colleges nationwide. For the same average pay given by a community college for a course, a professor can teach a class of 10-20 online students via Professor Direct. StraighterLine founder Burck Smith says that his company and others are raising awareness about the economics of higher education. "Both students and policymakers [are aware] that online courses can be offered outside the accrediting environment at 50% to 90% cheaper than colleges are doing themselves."
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