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Best Web OpEds

Learning in Classrooms Versus Online

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In 'The Trouble With Online Education' (Op-Ed, July 20), Mark Edmundson captures the inadequacy of online courses from the teacher's perspective, and I can corroborate from the student's.

I was a math-obsessive in high school. To supplement my school's curriculum, I turned to a Stanford program offering online courses to gifted youth. I started the program with enthusiasm, but I soon felt alone and unsupported. I had no one to impress or disappoint. I struggled to stay motivated. It was impersonal and transactional, and it nearly destroyed my obsession.

A face-to-face meeting in a classroom imposes accountability, inspires effort and promotes academic responsibility in subtle ways that we don't fully appreciate. On a campus, students attend class and stay alert because they worry what the teacher will think if they don't.
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Joseph Pickett is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. He writes over 100 articles and blog posts every month on many different subjects: education, law, crime, drugs, Chinese herbal medicine, electronics, tools, (more...)
 

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