We all know what a great judge of integrity Mrs. Clinton can be when she wants to.

Carl Straumsheim reports at Inside Higher Ed.

Does Online Ed Lack ‘Integrity’?

A line about the integrity of online learning in Hillary Clinton’s higher education plan has experts on online education questioning the candidate’s grasp of the market.

In a version of the plan distributed to the media this past weekend, the campaign said, “We must restore integrity to online learning and will not tolerate programs that fall short,” as though online education has recently lost its way. The campaign reworded the sentence before Monday’s announcement, however. The published version reads, “We must bring integrity to online learning” — as though it never had any in the first place.

A spokesperson for the campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Online learning experts criticized the plan for what they described as a “narrow” view of how education is delivered — a view they said implies that the online education market is dominated by for-profit diploma mills looking to take advantage of unwitting students.

“As someone who has worked in distance education since the late ’80s, I did not realize that I worked in a field devoid of integrity,” said Russell Poulin, director of policy and analysis for WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). “If they are not equating online learning with for-profit colleges, then I’m at a loss as to why they would want to throw a whole industry under the bus. First, not every for-profit institution was involved in the scandalous behavior. Second, tens of thousands of faculty and staff and millions of students who participate in distance learning should be upset.”

An analysis of federal data released earlier this year by WCET, an organization that is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, paints a different picture of the online education market. Not only do most of the students who study online attend public colleges and universities, but that sector of higher education is also growing. Enrollments at for-profit colleges, meanwhile, have fallen drastically.