What Is Alternative or “Non-Traditional” Education?
Excerpted from the Introduction of The Alternative Guide to College Degrees & Non-Traditional Higher
Education by John B. Bear, Ph.D. Published by the Stonesong Press, a division of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc., 1980.
A few years ago, if you lived in the United States and wanted to earn a college degree-a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate-you really had only one alternative: Go to a campus, take class after class, year after year, until you had completed enough units for the degree. Normally this used to take four years for a bachelor’s degree, one or two more for a master’s degree, and two or three years beyond that for a doctorate.
There has truly been a revolution in higher education in America since 1970. The essence of this revolution can be summarized in a single sentence: Instead of getting credit (and degrees) for the classes you have taken, you can get credit (and degrees) for what you know, regardless of how or where you learned it.