The rationale was just curiosity.  I was chatting with a colleague about student numbers and wondering why universities can't fill their classes while online courses like yours can.  The question arose out of that.  Perhaps the online options are popular partly becausestudents can't actually do a degree in Sanskrit at a university these days.  Instead of a focus on language - for which there is a student appetite - they see a ton of stuff that might seem irrelevant to them (at least at first impression). 

There's more to discuss about all this and about how Sanskrit degrees worked in the past and how they might in the future, but email maybe is too pedestrian and monologue-prone a medium.  When I did the Oxford BA, there was the idea in the air that we were catching up with students doing Greats who came to university with eight years of Latin and Greek already, from their school years. I think the idea was that it was premature to dive into culture and history if we didn't have the language.  That was perhaps flawed.  The system was so different anyway, that it's hard to compare.  It was a tutorial system, and there were no lectures.  Not one, in the whole three year degree.  I vividly remember the first lecture on Hinduism I attended, by Richard, and it was wonderful.  But it was in the first or second year of my PhD.