GRE Argument Essay 30

The following is a letter from a professor at Xanadu College to the college’s president.

“The development of an extensive computer-based long-distance learning program will enhance the reputation of Xanadu College. This program would allow more students to enroll in our courses, thereby increasing our income from student tuition. Traditional courses could easily be adapted for distance learners, as was shown by the adaptation of two traditional courses for our distance learning trial project last year. Also, by using computer programs and taped lectures, faculty will have fewer classroom obligations and more time to engage in extensive research, thereby enhancing the reputation of Xanadu.”

The given argument reflects an assertion made by a professor at Xanadu College to the president of the college. The professor states that the reputation of the college can be enhanced by initiating a computer-based long-distance learning program. He supports this claim by stating that this would lead to an increase in the college’s income because of the large number of students who would enroll for the program. The professor adds that traditional courses can be successfully adapted for distance learning and he cites the example of two such courses that were conducted in the previous year. The professor also mentions that the utilization of taped lectures will leave the professors of the college with time for carrying out extensive research and that this would enhance the reputation of Xanadu College. Although, the argument seems logical and reasonable when it is read for the first time, a careful analysis of the facts presented renders the argument unconvincing due to lack of evidence that is logically sound.

The fact that this statement has been made by a single professor of the college is a major loophole in the given argument. It is quite possible that while voicing his opinion, the professor has not included the other departments of the college and all his assumptions may not hold true for the departments other than his own.

Initiating a distance le’rning program does not ensure an increase in the college’s income. There are a number of students who are not comfortable studying through distance learning programs. They feel that real-time student-teacher interaction cannot be substituted by distance learning. Additionally, as far as the future job prospects are concerned, a degree earned by distance learning does not carry much significance. Moreover, as the distance learning program being suggested is computer-based, this would further apply a restriction on the number of students who would like to apply for it as it is not necessary that all students can handle computers comfortably. Therefore, it is quite likely that there may not be a substantial increase in the number of students who would like to enroll for distance learning from Xanadu College, especially if there are colleges offering the same programs through regular classes in their neighborhood.

The evidence provided in the form of the two traditional courses that were adapted for distance learning last year is a weak link in the argument. This is because of two reasons. Firstly, two courses cannot determine how the remaining courses of the college will fare if they are adapted for distance learning programs. Secondly, one year is too less a time to term the distance learning program as successful. It is likely that the students would have enrolled for the program due to the novelty of the idea. It is possible that there may be a lesser number of students enrolling for distance learning programs as time passes and the initial excitement and curiosity dies down.

Lastly, the assumption that the free time available with the professors will be utilized by them for research work is highly unconvincing. It is likely that the free time available with the professors will be utilized by them for other tasks related to the functioning of the college or the conduct of the distance learning program. The professors would be spending some time in taping the lectures as well. Therefore, assuming that the reputation of Xanadu College will be enhanced due to the extensive research work being carried out by its professors seems far-fetched.

In view of the above, one can see that the given argument lacks evidence that is logically sound. The argument could have been strengthened if the assertion made was the result of an extensive research carried out by a group of professors from different departments of the college. Therefore, the given argument cannot be termed as well-reasoned as the conclusion made by the professor does not rely on solid evidence in its support.