Online Classes Have No Soul

They lack teacher-student chemistry: English professor
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2012 12:14 PM CDT
Online Classes Have No Soul
One English professor thinks online courses miss out an elemental part of education.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Colleges keep increasing their online education options, but one English professor hopes schools don't get too carried away with the concept. Online classes miss out on a fundamental part of the education process: the "jazz"-like interaction between teacher and student, writes UVa's Mark Edmundson in the New York Times. Why are great teachers great? Because they have an intuitive sense of when a class is fading, or thriving, and can act accordingly.

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Online courses can be useful, especially for motivated students. "But in real courses the students and teachers come together and create an immediate and vital community of learning," writes Edmundson. "A real course creates intellectual joy," unlike its virtual counterpart. "Internet learning promises to make intellectual life more sterile and abstract than it already is—and also, for teachers and for students alike, far more lonely." Read his full column here. (Read more online learning stories.)

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