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Cost of a Liberal Education

April 18, 2019

When students today come of college age, they must prepare for careers that enable them to enjoy a middle class life. Lucky ones with some ability will study for careers in medicine, law and science that guarantee a good income. Some inclined to the study of business or computer sciences will also do well.

Making money is very important, but that is not the purpose of education. In America education originally served to prepare those called by God to preach the Gospels, train aspiring lawyers in the law and prepare educated Americans for the duties of citizens of a self-governing Republic. All that began to change after our Civil War and we saw “education” married to service to  a growing centralized administrative State.

Lost were the “Liberal Arts” and the core concepts of what constitutes an “education.” By mid 20th century the exterior form of a liberal education was present in required curricula that included all the Liberal Arts, foreign language requirements and the sciences. Only the exterior form of that commitment to true “education” remained, not the understanding needed to sustain those requirements. When anti-Vietnam war protests disrupted American colleges and university classes, curricular requirements were abandoned in most universities. A few expelled riotous students, but most college administrators caved in to student demands.

To add insult to injury, antiquated “Standards” of regional accreditation inhibited colleges and universities from adapting to utilization of new digital technologies that no longer required that all courses be offered in physical classrooms.

There is a price to be paid for that in high tuition cost. Compare the cost of courses in the History of Western Civilization at Arizona State and the University of Notre Dame and equivalent courses available online.

Courses in Western Civilization for Academic Credit

Tuition per course: Arizona State University ($600).

Per course Tuition at Notre Dame: ($5,150.50) .

HST 101, Western Civilization: Ancient and Medieval Europe   This first year online history course  at Arizona State will take you on a fascinating journey of the history of Europe from ancient times through 1500 AD. Taught by Dr. Ian Frederick Moulton. you will learn about a number of cultures and periods, including: Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Celtic, Frankish.

Thomas F. X. Noble, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Notre Dame, now offers his Western Civ course that cost $5,150 at Notre Dame for $49.95 at the commercial company that advertises “Great Courses.

Courses Not for Academic Credit

The Great Courses ($49.95). The Foundations of Western Civilization. You can discover the essential nature, evolution, and perceptions of Western civilization from its humble beginnings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt to the dawn of the modern world. With these 48 lectures on the people, places, ideas, and events that make up The Foundations of Western Civilization, award-winning scholar and teacher Thomas F. X. Noble, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Notre Dame.

Kahn Academy (Free). World History, 600 BCE to 600 CE: Second-Wave Civilizations. This period lays the foundation for much of civilization as we know it today. The classical Greeks lay the cultural foundation for Western civilization. The Achaemenid Persians under Cyrus unify much of the Middle East and Egypt. Alexander the Great unifies Greece with Persia. Later, the Roman Empire dominates the Mediterranean and Europe.

Straighterline ($59.00). Western Civilization I. This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the development of early civilizations from Neolithic times to 1715. Early and contemporary Western cultures are compared and contrasted, as are major religious, social, and political reforms. Other topics include the religious influence of Judaism and the Bible, the rise and fall of ancient Greece, and the transformation of Rome from a republic to an empire. The Crusades, the origins of feudalism, and the evolution of Christianity are examined, as is the evolution of the European economy during Westward expansion. The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment period are also discussed.

As the founding president of a solely online university, I know that traditional courses can be offered for much less than parents and students pay today at “Regionally Accredited” colleges and universities. How much longer will education consumers pay for what an earlier generation of Americans called “highway robbery”?

 

 

 

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