Perhaps classes in statistics could be equally absorbed online or in person. But what about humanities classes? The root of that word implies a personal connection between a student and a teacher that no machine can duplicate (“Findings give boost to online classes: Method effective, study concludes,” Page A1, May 22).
I was a student in a Humanities class at the division of general education at Boston University in 1968. One professor read us “The Tell-Tale Heart” at 3 a.m. by candlelight, and acted out with gusto how Ugolino was doomed to forever gnaw the head of Archbishop Ruggieri in “The Divine Comedy.”
Another took us out to knock on doors and talk about racism after Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated.
It was a magical time.
Could a face in a computer have mentored us in this way, or given us a kind word in the hallways?
Online education may be fine as an adjunct way of teaching, but I can’t help envisioning what commencement would be like for these online learners. A row of computers with online professors via Skype? It’s just not the same.