Is distance learning innovative or regressive?

I recently had the opportunity to guest lecture at a major university. The topic was new media. In the middle of the lecture, it dawned on me that here I was talking about a trend in media that heightened the opportunities for interaction, communication and discussion … but I was talking to a half-empty lecture hall! The other half of the class was either watching me from home or taping me to watch at some later date when they had a minute (I know this because an exam question was going to be based on my lecture).


The world is moving to increase the opportunities for interaction through new, social media.  Business is most certainly about communication, teamwork and interactive solutioning (at least in my world). But higher education has welcomed a model that runs counter-intuitive to everything else around it.

I understand that today’s education system is structuring itself to offer options and accommodate the various schedules of today’s modern student. However, face-to-face social interaction and teamwork are essential skills that students need to be exposed to and, in my opinion, every class should have some element of personal interaction and collaborative learning.

I don’t think that a purely online learning environment is innovative.  I believe that it is regressive. My message to students … come to class and get the most out of the experience.  Learn and grow from one another, your professor and invited guest speakers. Prepare for the interpersonal give and take of the real world of business.  It is YOUR future.

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