On Campus

A defense of in-person education

I have been teaching on-line courses at Memorial University of Newfoundland for the past 2 years and I also have some reservations about on-line PhD programs, so I was intrigued when I came across this article from Inside Higher Ed. An excerpt:

Obviously, online courses are a fine option for a lot of reasons. In fact, I’m enrolled in an online Ph.D. program right now because I don’t want to drive an hour each way to take classes at the nearest place offering a Ph.D. in my discipline. It doesn’t have a program that I’m interested in, either. So I’m glad online education is available.

As I work through the courses, though, I run into that irritating American love affair with the new. People keep posting discussions about how wonderful online courses are and what must be wrong with all those people who aren’t taking them. And I’m finding the assumption is that, of course, we are all planning to teach online ourselves. (It’s an education Ph.D.).

No, I’m not. I like people. And the more I participate in online learning, the more I understand why this is a good option for some people and a disastrous option for others. Unfortunately, our educational history is to attack the status quo and club it to death with the new.

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