Via ‘Joanne Jacobs”:http://www.joannejacobs.com/2013/05/is-online-learning-for-steerage/ is this lament about online classes. The key paragraph
We can therefore anticipate the formation of three distinct groups of students. Well-off students will attend the few colleges and universities that are wealthy enough to eschew standardization and automation. They alone will have real relationships with great faculty. A second, less wealthy group of students will use online courses for their general education and attend “authentic” institutions for a short while. For poorer students, online learning could well become the main course. They will attend institutions that, strictly speaking, grant post-high school credentials to the coach class.
My immediate response is “how is that different from the current situation?”. I attended a top school and excelled at my studies but basically had zero interaction with professors outside the classroom, despite the fact that my father knew several of them personally. Even in graduate school I interacted essentially only with my thesis advisors and one or two other professors. None of my fellow undergraduates or graduate students that I knew had a different experience. When I was a teaching assistant, on the other side so to speak, I didn’t interact with undergraduates. I’m not even sure when or how that would be expected to happen. I had office hours and hung out in the computer lab a lot but I never had students drop by for a chat, only for course related issues.
So what, really, will be lost with the rise of online course work? My undergraduate work could have been done with a video conferencing system just as well. I think people who write articles like this fail to grasp how rare their own experience was.