Online Diversity?

A few days ago George Leef posted the following provocative comment on National Review Online:

Posting on Jay Greene’s blog, Matt Ladner of the Goldwater Institute notes that the University of Texas system has just joined the growing EdX movement, giving a further boost to online education. That means that exactly where a student is officially enrolled makes rather little difference, and it leads Ladner to ask, “Second, how ironic is it that this announcement comes on the heels of the Supreme Court arguments over UT Austin’s affirmative action policy? Soon people from all over the globe will be taking University of Texas courses, making the scarcity of university spots underlying such policies potentially obsolete, almost certainly less severe.”

Query: Won’t the rapid expansion of online courses also make the “diversity” rationale for racial discrimination in admissions obsolete? Doesn’t any institution, like the University of Texas, that piously proclaims that “diversity” is central to its educational mission convict itself of hypocrisy by offering a plethora of online courses?

ADDENDUM [22 Oct.]

This morning Inside Higher Ed reports on a new study finding that students who took introductory science courses  online did as well in more advanced science courses as those who took traditional classroom introductory courses. Apparently the lack of “diversity” in those classes did nothing to impair learning. (If a class has only one student, who is black or Hispanic, is it still “diverse”? Apparently all the skin-counters who are obsessed with the number of “diverse” students in classes and elsewhere think so.)

So, the pigmentary “diversity” that is produced by including and excluding some students based on race contributes nothing to science courses, but, as the evidence presented in Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., Mismatch, persuasively demonstrates, it does result in the graduation of fewer minority STEM graduates than would have been the case if the preferentially admitted minorities had attended less selective institutions.

Say What? (1)

  1. Tregonsee October 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm | | Reply

    It depends on whether you are talking about reality or racial politics. One of my hobbies is ham/amateur radio. With a trivial number of exceptions, nobody knows what you look like. With some of the new digital modes, nobody knows what you sound like. However, in the US it is close to 100% white. I am “reliably” told by the only African American ham I know that this is because of racism. He is probably right, though not in the way he means.

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