"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: 05/25/20

Monday, May 25, 2020

COVID-19 Shows Wholly Online Education Has No Future

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

Before COVID-19, we were told that traditional brick-and-mortar institutions and face-to-face instructional methods were museum-bound. That compelled me to enroll for online teaching certification 5 years ago.

But the COVID-19-inspired transition to online-only pedagogy across the world this year has shown that the reports of the death of traditional ways of knowledge dissemination are greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain.

The data that has emerged, at least in the US, shows that wholly online learning environments are too inadequate and too socially impoverished to stand in for the full "college experience." Students detest it, parents resent it, and teachers chafe at it.

There're many reasons for this. I'll share only one personal example to make my point. A few years ago, a student I taught in an entirely online class and whom I'd never physically met requested me to write a recommendation letter for her for a job.

Sadly, I couldn't say anything about the student other than that she took and passed a class I taught her. I couldn't speak to her character, her personality, her social skills, her discursive abilities, or other non-academic attributes that are central to constructing her full portrait. I politely told her I couldn't write a recommendation letter that would be helpful to her. I've heard similar experiences from my colleagues.

If there's any positive thing that COVID-19 has done to education, it is that it has dramatized the irreplaceability, at least for the foreseeable future, of face-to-face instructional methods.