Is online teaching the future for elite university education??

Greetings all.

I was recently reading an article by David Brooks in the New York Times, titled: The Campus Tsunami.

Is there a tsunami taking place on college campuses? and now at the elite universities such as Harvard and MIT?? Basically Brooks wrote that now the elite universities are envisioning their future in offering online education.  He equates it to the revolution that took place in the newspaper/magazine industry where much of the content if not all has gone on-line and the publishing/news business has suffered greatly.  He wrote, “What happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education: a rescrambling around the Web.”  He adds, “Many of us view the coming change with trepidation. Will online learning diminish the face-to-face community that is the heart of the college experience? Will it elevate functional courses in business and marginalize subjects that are harder to digest in an online format, like philosophy? Will fast online browsing replace deep reading?”  What will happen to those professors who are not the “star” lecturers to millions? What will happen to the day to day face to face dialogue, discussions and discourse?? what about academic standards – will they remain rigorous? He asks many questions for us to ponder and think about since this mode of teaching will definitely be part of our future.  He challenges American universities to set up an excellent strong presence on-line and that actually, it will be hard to hide mediocrity and offer sub-quality poor education in front of the whole wide world – the web.  Good opinion piece to share with you.

Here are some of the comments posted about the article:

To the Editor:

David Brooks imagines “a blended online world” where privileged academic stars supply content and local professors are relegated to tutoring and conversing with students. Mr. Brooks’s ostensible goal is “quality,” but this corporate supply-chain model would diminish, not increase, knowledge.

Because knowing is a process, not a product, it is vibrant through the variegated scholarship of many local scholars. Students are inspired to learn by seeing scholarship enacted locally; their education will be badly compromised by accelerating their association of scholarly authority with a video screen image.

Denver, May 4, 2012

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