The Chronicle of Higher Education Notices StraighterLine

Jaime Dalbke

From August, 2008...

Almost every profession has at least one publication recognized as an authority on dispensing news and information regarding the latest trends and happenings. For academia, that publication is The Chronicle for Higher Education. And we here at StraighterLine (SL) are pleased that the publication recently profiled our newly launched online educational service in a fair and professional manner.

In an item that ran June 17, 2008 in "The Wired Campus" section of its Web site, The Chronicle for Higher Education noted that we offer our online introductory college courses and connect students "to accredited colleges who will accept the courses for credit" through our parent company, the online tutorial service SmartThinking. It discussed our benefits in terms of cost ("The courses cost $399 each, which includes 10 hours of time with a tutor. If students need more one-on-one help, they can pay extra for more tutoring.") as well as flexibility ("The online courses offered by StraighterLine are self-guided, and if students run into trouble they can summon a tutor from SmartThinking and talk with them via instant messaging. Students turn in their assignments or papers to tutors for grading as well.").

The story generated immediate follow-up comments, both pro and con, within a day of its posting, with some educators complaining of how we could replace them via outsourcing. That is a vast overstatement of our goals, not to mention our power. SL is not taking over what instruction occurs at traditional "bricks and mortar" universities for any non-introductory level courses. If anything, we encourage students to attend them, as we partner with colleges and universities and drive our students to those institutions if they want to receive full credit for their work.

We are simply another option for prospective students to consider when studying their introductory coursework. The first year in college often can result in students dropping out entirely if they find themselves detached from their courses, and in many cases in today's world, they encounter teaching assistants (TAs) rather than qualified professors instructing them in a classroom with hundreds of other students. In contrast, our personalized, convenient touch (our tutors are available 24/7 to answer questions one-on-one) is designed to encourage their interest and inspire them to be engaged and perform well at their end-of-semester evaluation. The fact that several accredited universities and colleges already see merit to this approach indicates they believe we are a help and not a hindrance to their students' educational experience.

There is much more to StraighterLine than just what we have explained here. To discover all of our features and benefits, visit and learn how we can be the shortest distance between you and your degree.

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