Fun Star: eLearning relies on young blood

This article is a work of satire, and is not intended to be taken seriously in any way. Any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental, and any quotes should not be regarded with any degree of seriousness.

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Chad Scham, 14, has been impersonating multiple e-Learning professors since 2015. Molly Putman/ Layout Editor Photo credit: Molly Putman

A recent Sun Star investigation has revealed more than 65 percent of UAF eLearning courses are being taught by one middle school student based out of Ketchikan.

Chad Scham, 14, has been posing as several professors and managing multiple courses over a variety of subjects including marketing, economics, ethics and political science.

“I basically look up a textbook with the same name as the class and assign a chapter each week,” Scham said. “It’s easy to find pre-made multiple choice tests from the book and online. Blackboard does the rest.”

Some online students were unsurprised that Scham had been teaching courses.

“I mean, I feel like I was basically just part of an expensive book club,” Mary O’Heffernan, a freshman student taking an online English course, said. “It’s really not surprising that it was being taught by some kid, it seemed like the prof was putting in no effort at all.”

Gregory Chapman, a business major, had a similar experience.

“I could have gotten the exact same information by just reading the book by myself,” Chapman said. “I’m frustrated that I’m paying $700 in tuition to read a book.”

Currently, eLearning tuition is $576 for lower-level classes and $696 for upper-level classes.

Although he admits fault, Scham insists his decision to teach the courses was for good reason.

“Honestly, getting a good education is so, so important and I feel for my students,” Scham said. “That’s why I decided to do the classes, I’m saving money for college.”

UA representatives say they don’t know how Scham was hired, but stress the upsides.

“Teaching college classes was likely a very exciting and educational opportunity for Chad,” UA spokesperson Marmian Grimes said. “It also saved the university thousands of dollars in professor salaries, since Chad was doing the work of about 20 eLearning professors.”

eLearning staff and other administrators refused further comment, however Jim Johnsen, who claimed to be UA system president, said he may consider duplicating Scham and his approach to teaching.

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