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February 14, 2013

Agree and disagree

From Andrew Leonard's "The Internet Will Not Ruin College":

There’s also little doubt that lectures delivered online to thousands of students at once, with limited capacity for feedback from educators to the educated, and huge logistical conundrums involved with assuring adequate grading and testing, are never going to be equivalent in quality to small seminars taught by brilliant professors who are able and willing to instigate vigorous classroom debate and keep copious open office hours.

I have a couple of questions about "adequate grading and testing" myself. But ". . . small seminars taught by brilliant professors who are able and willing to instigate vigorous classroom debate and keep copious open office hours"?? Is that satire? If not, it's ridiculous. 


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Steve S

In my experience, the students few students who actually used office hours (possibly Leonard) think that everyone else used this time to learn and couldn't possibly have gotten their diploma without it.

No offense to college professors, but you aren't all brilliant (someone has to be average...), and nobody cares about your office hours.


The internet is going to make the business of college very interesting. I bet we haven't begun to see the model of the new university yet.

Jack P.

It sounds like he's talking about Honors seminars. That would be one course out of forty in a Bachelor's degree program, and then only for Honors students.

The idea of office hours is quaint and not compatible with the constraints university administrators are putting on faculty. On the other hand, having FAQs online, or a Forum where questions are answered (audio-video or audio is simple enough) and available to all, can be very helpful.


Yes I got very few small size classes, or one on one help until I was taking some senior level classes.

The advantages of online classes are enormous. First if you miss a lecture, then it is still available online. second, you can get help online from the other students and any forums which exist for that subject.

Did I mention the lower cost?

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