“The more you hate the idea of teaching online, the more that online education needs you.”
That’s historian Joseph Rees (Colorado State – Pueblo), writing at Vitae. He is no fan of online courses, worried about their quality and effectiveness but notes that their increased prevalence is probably unstoppable. Here’s the context for the above quote:
I recently made a commitment to start teaching online, beginning in the fall of 2016. My plan is to create a rigorous and engaging online… survey course while I’m still in a position to dictate terms. After all, if I create a respectable, popular class that takes advantage of the Internet to do things that can’t be done in person, then it will be harder for future online courses at my university (or elsewhere for that matter) to fail to live up to that example. In short, I want to stake out the high ground in the online education space before that ground becomes completely inaccessible.
The only way for this to happen is for caring tenured faculty to start teaching online themselves. Indeed, the more you hate the idea of teaching online, the more that online education needs you. After all, who else could do a better job of calling out any efforts to weaken standards in online courses than someone who has provided a quality face-to-face education for years and is (thanks to what’s left of tenure) at least somewhat resistant to pressure from above?
This article was brought to my attention by Gary Bartlett (Central Washington University), who writes:
I’d love to hear what other philosophers think of this, and of online philosophy classes in general. Some folks, I know, are just dead-set against the whole idea and refuse to even countenance the possibility of teaching philosophy online. I don’t take that position. But I am leery, in large part because I’m worried that an online philosophy class just can’t be as effective as a face-to-face one. On the other hand, I wonder if that attitude on my part just reflects an unwarranted resistance to change. I’d love to hear what others think; especially others who have actually done a solid amount of online teaching already.
(Also, check out the previous discussion of online philosophy courses, here.)
(image: detail of “Buy 5 yr” by Sarah Frost)