The move to on-line degrees in higher education has been occurring since the beginning of the twenty first century and predictions abound that this will happen for almost all college courses, by the time the pandemic subsides.
Currently e-learning is relegated to upper level classes with independent student research and projects, and those memorization-heavy entry level courses formerly known as “weed-out classes.” These are typically freshman year classes aimed to eliminate weaker students. However, they may not even contribute to what students need for their degrees as they are often based on heavy amounts of information or large number of assignments rather than critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Student often no longer go through the complex process of figuring out what they need to know. Higher level thinking skills do not exist in vacuum but must be connected to a course of study. They require a greater depth of understanding in a particular domain. In the effort to teach a plethora of technical information, the requirements to use executive functions and higher level thinking may be fading from the education received in colleges and universities.
It may be shorted sighted for employers to expect college graduates to have already honed new skills in whatever form of technology the company uses, but they do. They often weed-out prospective employees based on lack of current technical skills rather than lack of critical thinking ability.
Half a century ago, as an art major, I had to rely on chemistry for printmaking and photography, and I used geometry and trig to creating computer art before the software was developed which eliminated the need for math. Producing a constant flow of innovative and well crafted art work required integration of other knowledge from other fields. The weed-out classes do not provide that.
Koebler, Jason. Experts: ‘Weed Out’ Classes Are Killing STEM Achievement April 19, 2012 (viewed 23 Jan 2013)