University education, like love, cannot simply be moved online

Sky Gilbert, , Mar 11, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The funny thing about this article is that the author does not seem to know just how much of the average love life has moved online, from dating and flirting, getting to know each other, and even day-to-day conversation. Yes, there is the in-person aspect, without which love just wouldn't be the same. But the difference between love in person and education in person is this: we would feel funny paying highly specialized individuals $150K a year to satisfy aspects of our live life. It feels funny, in this respect, to read a line like this: "Teaching and learning involves human beings, interaction, opinions, facial expressions, emotion, and yes even a touch of the hand or a warm, sweaty handshake." And that's where Sky Gilbert misses the point of online learning, done properly. It takes all the bits of an education that be put online, and puts them there, and then leaves us with the tools and the means of providing the interaction and back-and-forth discourse we need for ourselves. Just like love.

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