Election 2008

Get My Vote: Guy Wants Online Education System

NPR wants you. Specifically, we want you to tell the world what moves you as a voter. Our new Get My Vote project invites you to express yourself in video, audio or text. Some people think of it as a way to tell politicians what they have to do win you over it. We like to think of it as "Understand My Vote" — as in, get it?

Like russpears, the guy in the video up there. He wants funding for a free online education system. And seriously, I'm way far from wanting that myself, or at least from marking it as a priority. But disagreeing is half the fun. Check out Get My Vote — then take a couple of minutes to post your own entry. We'll be blogging the best of your stuff in the weeks to come.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Don't know about his proposal, but he is cute. I think I'll have to replay this one.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 8:27 AM | 4-28-2008

Does he mean university education or for high school and under? I think there's a big difference.

Not everyone has access to a computer and most libraries limit the time you can spend at a specific computer.

I do think we need to update our education system... I'm not exactly sure this is the answer, yet. There are some rural areas that have online school programs that seem to work (for high school). I think there's a benefit for kids to get together for extracurricular activities and the kids would also have to be monitored in some way to make sure they actually take the class and do their work...

I still think there needs to be a live lecture somewhere and the students should be online watching it in real time rather than watching a recorded lecture, which is how most online university programs work. I think a lot of the learning process depends on asking questions and getting an immediate response while the information is fresh in your mind... you can't get that with a recorded lecture.

Sent by April | 11:11 AM | 4-28-2008

I agree that we need more funding for computers in schools and in libraries (and for more than just MySpacing); we need to make technology more accessible. I've taught online courses for a few years and I find that the level of discourse is similiar to that in a traditional classroom setting. I do not, however, believe that online coursework should be a replacement for face to face meetings. As society becomes more and more technologically advanced, I think it's important to maintain our interpersonal connectivity.

Sent by sara | 3:21 PM | 4-28-2008


See the Wikipedia article on the UK's Open University. A big success, that has expanded beyond its initial audience of older non-traditional students to appeal (mainly for financial reasons) to younger students.

You are probably right that the ideal university education includes live lectures, small groups of students in direct contact with professors, individual tutoring, etc. But that is a luxury only the elite can afford. We need to offer a quality education to the greatest number in the most cost-effective way. How much would such a system cost? Not much compared to what students are paying at many universities today.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 3:25 PM | 4-28-2008

Look we should not be so dismissive of the possibility for making education for all a reality, yea some or most people would love to attend Harvard-for any number of reasons, but America cannot afford it and time and time again distance learning has shown to be effective. But do not think nothing of quality or significance is being put forward here please consider that for every person who is give access to funding, there are many more who still cannot afford today's tuition. And for every graduate, there are more looking for re-education due to the changing in every industry and personal goals.

We have to be ready to give responsible self-learners the means to their future, to do less is a moral failure given the promise we represent both technologically and our enduring belief that we do in fact have a democracy. Our government cannot, by virtue of how we have our educational system constructed, make today's tuition affordable! The Universities we have now will not let go of the 850 billion they get every year and still we are going to be marginalizing the working poor who cannot afford time away from a job let alone take on another 50-80 thousand in debt and/or give up insurance and 40-50 hrs per week to need to pay their current bills. We need this for the working poor and I have yet found anyone in the media or government who will seriously consider this as an option.

Sent by Russell Spears | 11:55 AM | 5-7-2008

NPR should be raising this issue now and Laura, I cannot understand your disagreement to it. Though in a few years I see this coming to light anyways, since it seems to follow necessarily from any discussion on technology and education. NPR can champion this in a greater debate than we can have hear. You have influence, why not show NPR and your project to be ahead of your time.

Also, I have posted more on "get my vote" if you care to look into a better discussion that includes more of the working poor. And thanks for your reference to my video, though dismissive it is better to see it out there!

Sent by Russell Spears | 12:07 PM | 5-7-2008

NPR's very own argument for a free Online Education. The answer is not in giving the Working Poor more debt or allow for less of their post-educational incomes to be taken in student loan repayments. The solution comes from giving all Americans the means to excel and achieve an accredited degree and in my opinion, you will see the best minds come from this since many of our greatest thinkers are working in the wrong jobs out of necessity.


Sent by Russell Spears | 2:39 PM | 5-7-2008

Every University is investing around 30-80 million to make online universities and the cost or maintaining them is no doubt less than it takes to build them. Moreover, this is less than the 850 Billion we spend each year for America's educational needs. But again I do not advocate replacing traditional schooling, so much as establishing an effective alternative that includes every American and that also ends the long standing practice of exclusion the Educational Monopolies use today.

Sent by Russell Spears | 4:40 PM | 5-7-2008

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