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“[R]emote education is nowhere near the caliber of the on-campus experience.”

Duh. Any idiot knows that online instruction, while sometimes okay, is never great, never anything like face to face real time real world classroom education.

Not that UD didn’t constantly hear, at campus meetings (long before the virus) devoted to onlining more and more of her university’s offerings, that online was “exactly the same quality as in-class.” People actually said this. They said it confidently. They said it as if prefacing it Everyone knows that… As if anyone who might be thinking about demurring might want to keep their trap shut.

The drama, spontaneity, and challenge of other smart human beings sitting around you discussing an issue? The intensity-packed emotional/intellectual presence of a flesh and blood professor in love with her subject and excited by her students’ responsiveness to it? That cherished moment after class when some of her students come up to her and want to keep talking into the hallways and into her office? Meh. Meh! Feh. Feh! Who needs it!


The university told a whopper. It made a Whopper.

Eh alors. Universities tried to keep the Online Whopper fresh and sizzling, tried to make it a tenderly expertly fashioned Beef Wellington rather than a … Whopper… But all it took was some scrutiny by a few people uncynical and serious about their education to reveal the sesame bun under the puff pastry.


And lo! Behold the lawsuits all over this land as people realize that $30,000 a semester for techno-fumbling, anonymity, and emotional disengagement is on the high side.

Margaret Soltan, May 17, 2020 12:28PM
Posted in: technolust

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7 Responses to ““[R]emote education is nowhere near the caliber of the on-campus experience.””

  1. JND Says:

    “People actually said this. They said it confidently. They said it as if prefacing it Everyone knows that… As if anyone who might be thinking about demurring might want to keep their trap shut.”

    In our case, the first people to say this were the ones the Provost had just hired to cram online down our throats. And, of course, the Provost backed them by saying the same thing. That helped with our keeping our traps shut.

  2. UD Says:

    JND: You said it. At most schools, online was a full-court press, and woe betide the technophobic reactionary terrified disgruntled no-fun professor who said boo.

    It’s been interesting for me to discover that at most schools these days the people least likely to allow laptops into their meetings and other gatherings are the selfsame throat-crammers. Wonder why.

  3. charlie Says:

    In his book, “Digital Diploma Mills,” the late David Noble stated that on-line content created by professors would be usurped by the institution. The image, lecture, and whatever else that was visually captured, would be used however the school saw fit, even if the teacher was no longer at the school.

    A few years ago, Ed O’ Bannion, a former UCLA basketball player, sued the NCAA because his picture was on the cover of a video game, and he received nothing for its use.The courts ruled against him. He no longer owned his own likeness, which is in keeping with what Noble said would take place if unis went online. Upshot is that unemployed profs won’t be compensated for all the years of work developing their curriculum…

  4. superdestroyer Says:

    What would be the difference to doing Econ 101 or business math 101 in a massive lecture hall at Central Florida, Georgia St, George Mason, ARizona St, Minnesota, etc versus doing an online course.

    Out of the 60k students at Central Florida, how many of them could be identified by a single professor?

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    superdestroyer: Those courses – which also typically include clickers and other distancing, anonymizing devices, and which feature plenty of students either (quite rationally) skipping, or spending the session watching sports or porn or films on their phones – are squalid jokes, and any university that thinks taking money for packing students into a degrading non-experience is okay has its head up its ass. Demolish the massive lecture buildings; offer discussion sessions only, with the organizing professor making scheduled visits to each discussion section.

  6. superdestroyer Says:

    But how does the discussion groups with (?) adjuncts or grad students work at a university with 50k plus undergraduates and few graduate students?

  7. Margaret Soltan Says:

    superdestroyer: If schools are forced to use this model, they will have to invest not only in large numbers of grad students, but large numbers of adjuncts. Otherwise, it’s all going to go online – every bit of it.

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