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Point-Counterpoint

Nov. 2, 1999

Online classes simply give credit, not solid education

In this day of ever advancing technology, not every step forward is meant to be taken. Somewhere along this progression of man, certain self-imposed checks must occur in order to protect the sanctity of our human race.

Limits set on genetic cloning are an example of how we have recognized that sometimes technology may have harmful repercussions. On a scale not so dramatic, Internet courses now threaten he sanctity of higher education in the world today.

In this day of instant coffee, room-in-a-box furniture and virtual reality, it only seems fitting that we can now substitute real class time with sitting at your desk in your robe downloading quizzes on your home PC while watching soap operas.

Sure it sounds great, but there is something actually being in class at a real school that can't be written in html. There is no substitute for a real teacher and a real classroom filled with real colleagues who have real problems and therefore promote real interactions. These interactions between humans are where learning occurs -- not in simple memorization of facts of recitation of figures.

The Internet is an amazing tool that can supplement classroom instruction, not substitute it.

Imagine the scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in which Socrates was teaching as the ancient philosophers did -- thinkers sitting around learning from one another by listening and watching. Teachers teach not only by speaking but also by doing. Many of our instructors act as role models. They inspire and spur us on to achieve more than just the completion of a degree.

A classroom setting will always render a superior education when compared to online courses. Working with others, learning from their beliefs and ideas and being able to cooperate effectively are all things taught in a classroom that won't be listed on the syllabus. An Internet class which provides no interaction with others simply requires doing rather than learning.

Internet courses are for people who want to acquire a degree rather than an education.

As much as students hate getting up in the morning and stumbling into their classes when they don't want to be there, they're making the right choice. We should strive to drive away from Baylor with more than just a diploma; we should leave as more complete human beings. This should be the goal of every student.