Augsburg profs say why MOOCs can’t replace the classroom experience


Augsburg College faculty members Lars D. Christiansen and Michael J. Lansing write in MinnPost why physical presence is so important in teaching, and why online education — specifically the massive open online course (MOOC) — offers the promise of something it can’t deliver:


“MOOC boosters assume that education is about the thinking mind, not the feeling body. For the last 100 years, educational theorists have consistently rejected such dualistic thinking. Philosophers such as John Dewey and Mark Johnson insist that feelings and emotions — which emerge through sensory capabilities of the person in their surroundings — remain crucial to intellectual endeavor. Feeling and thinking are phases of an experience, not separate and distinct acts. Left unchallenged, these assumptions lead those who advocate for online-only learning to argue that the format supplies the same learning experience as face-to-face settings. In their mind, online education delivers the same thing as existing forms of higher education, but makes them cheaper and more accessible. … It doesn’t.”

You can read their essay here.