Online classes threaten Tulane’s reputation

Noa Elliot, Contributing Reporter

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

While the pending release of Tulane University’s much needed online traumatology course this October has been met with excitement from the New Orleans community, expanding online course offerings is not a useful allocation of Tulane’s resources. If the online course catalog expands, students could feasibly get a four year degree from Tulane for a fraction of the cost. 

Online classes often fail to effectively assess student learning and rely heavily on the honor system. These classes, even non-academic courses like driver education or MyStudentBody, see a high degree of cheating and academic malpractice, simply because of the accessibility of the internet and the lack of accountability without the presence of a teacher or peers. Without someone watching, students do not feel the need to uphold typical standards of academic honesty.

The fact that the traumatology course is being marketed as free presents an injustice to students attending classes on campus. Having free credits available to the public reduces the value of a Tulane education. 

Other universities across the country have attempted similar programs, offering online classes to make the education they offer more accessible. These institutions, however, do not offer course credit. The stigma of a less involved, easier environment attached to online learning would diminish the prestige of the university.

Tulane’s offer, however, is unique. A traumatology course will prove to be an asset to the greater New Orleans community. Having experienced trauma nine years ago during and after Hurricane Katrina, the university has been extremely efficient and conscious about reopening its doors and recovering in stride. This new course may bring security and education to the local community as well as offer a jumping-off point for trauma-related work in other areas. 

While offering a traumatology course is a great idea, it is the exception to the rule. Tulane should not make habit of investing money or manpower in putting classes on the web. They reduce the value of a Tulane education and do not effectively assess students’ learning. 

Noa Elliot is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]