Beyond “College in a Can”: Teaching with Integrity and the Problem of Online Academia by Deirdre M. Condit

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Jasmine G sat across the desk from me, dandling her very active eighteen-month old son on her knee, talking to me about how hopeless and helpless she felt as she looked to her undergraduate commencement ceremony in May of this year. This extraordinary, twenty-five year old mother of two – her daughter is just turning five – is married to an enlisted man in the United States Air Force. She has been “living like a single mom” while he has been temporarily stationed in the Middle East for the past year and a half. She’s graduating and he’s finally coming home – literally, because once he returns, home for their family will become a small, desolate Air Force base community located in a place called Mountain Home, Idaho. I’m from Idaho and I can assure you of the ironies here: there are no mountains in Mountain Home and, for a young, African American couple from Virginia, life in this overwhelmingly trout-belly-white place could never really feel like home. But that is where they are bound and that is why Jasmine is so sad.

“There’s nothing there for me!” she explained with exasperation ….

Deirdre M. Condit, MA, PhD
Associate Professor of Political Science
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government & Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University