Several DEP courses—including CSCI E-2, “Bits,” and GOVT E-1045, “Justice” -- are the same classes that students sit (or sleep) through in the Science Center or Sanders Theater. Online students take the same exams, write the same papers, and are graded on the same curve as “real” Harvard undergraduates. And, according to some faculty, many of these Distance Program participants are more dedicated than the average student.Doherty's article also touches upon a few other Extension School issues, ranging from the makeup of the student body, to the University's reaction to the nasty Crimson editorial about Hillary Duff attending the Extension School.
FOR LOVE OF LEARNING
Brian M. Greenberg ’04, the Distance Program TF for CSCI E-2 (also known as Quantitative Reasoning 48), says that HES students can actually be “more fun” to work with than undergraduates. He says that College students often “take the learning process for granted,” adding that “the people in the Distance course are paying money out of their own pocket to complete the process. They will go out of their way to make sure they understand.”
Some students go far out of their way, even if it means crossing state borders. According to Greenberg, one of his past students from Albany, NY, wanted to drive to Cambridge to go over course material.
Even oceans can’t stop the DEP students’ commitment to learning. According to Greenberg, one student from the United Arab Emirates dealt with an eight hour time difference by watching lectures in internet cafes between two and three AM his time.
Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Paul G. Bamberg Jr. ’63, whose class on classical geometry is open to both undergrads and Extension School students, echoes Greenberg’s positive experience with HES. Bamberg emphasizes that everyone is held to the same standards, saying that, “they all sit in the same classroom and take the same exams, and over the past three years the Extension students have done as well as the undergraduates.”
According to Bamberg, the two highest grades last year were earned by Extension students. For the past two years Extension students outperformed their peers on his midterm -- one even earning a perfect score.
Some reaction to Doherty's Crimson article in the letters to the editor:
Online Education, Even At Harvard, Is Inadequate
Harvard Distance Education Is A Valuable Initiative