Many Students' Favorite Professors Shun Distance Education

Michael Arnone, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, May 07, 2002
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Reading like a set of interviews of radio stars reacting to the onset of television, the theme of this article is that students' favorite professors "refuse to give up the classroom." The essential message is that "What makes such professors special... is their ability to connect emotionally with students. Because they are used to making that connection face-to-face rather than via distance education, they'd almost be the last people to be interested in it." Though the story accepts the idea of professors using new technology, it cites them as dismissing online learning as "a fad." You get the idea that these professors are in a world of their own. "I don't think we'll ever reach a point where 18- to 21-year-olds aren't going into classrooms," the article quotes one professor as saying. Well here's a surprise for him: the vast majority of 18- to 21-year-olds world-wide never see the inside of a classroom. The professorial antics described in this piece are too expensive for anything like an accessible educational system to sustain. Some days I wonder why the Chronicle even bothers with an online edition.
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