Online education, if handled well, can bring to the student the most motivating teacher. But there is much more to learning than just online courses. There is a role of the class—a role of discussion and feedback—that is crucial to learning.
It’s good there’s a debate on this—we have to really work out how online education can supplement traditional forms of education. All stakeholders have to come into the picture to make this happen. It is not just recording a course and putting it on the internet. We are putting up courses online but, significantly, the average student is not looking at it.
There is also no evidence that a student will sit in front of a computer and grasp the course and become an engineer. It is not clear that they will be able to do what a course requires them to do without the physical presence of a teacher. Even in Stanford, only highly-motivated students actually sit through the entire course offered online.
Learning is a complicated process. What if the mind switches off? A student’s mind...