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Online courses, still lacking that third dimension


When colleges and universities finally decide to make full use of the internet, most professors will lose their jobs, says Randall Stross for Digital Domain. That includes me. I’m not worried, though, at least for the moment. Amid acute budget crises, state universities like mine can’t afford to take that very big step–adopting the technology that renders human instructors obsolete. I began teaching classes online 10 years ago, but the term “online” is misleading. What I really mean is that I teach a hybrid course: part software, part hovering human. A genuine online course would be nothing but the software and would handle all the grading, too. No living, breathing instructor would be needed for oversight.

“We should focus on having at least one great course online for each subject rather than lots of mediocre courses,” Bill Gates suggested in his 2010 annual letter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…

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