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Agree to Disagree: The Virtues of Virtual Learning

Friday, May 1, 2020

“More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete.” That debate resolution meant something very different before America’s lecture halls went dark in light of the pandemic. Now, as students ZOOM through their courses and continue school remotely, we ask: What does the future hold for online learning? Can online universities make higher education more affordable, more engaging, and more equitable for all? 

John Donvan is joined by Ben Nelson, CEO of The Minvera Project, and David Deming, economist and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, to do what we do best: argument, but not a formal debate in our usual way.  In this exchange, Ben and David “Agree to Disagree,” about how colleges are adapting to online learning, what students and educators are missing, and how we must adapt to the new normal. Here’s what we learned:

1) The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the business model for higher education.

2) Ben Nelson argues that technology enhances education by offering effective, data-driven instruction at lower costs.

3) David Deming says there aren’t scalable online substitutes for the most valuable and personal parts of teaching: tutoring, mentoring, and giving feedback. 

 

Listen to the full conversation below, and let us know where you stand: Is the lecture hall obsolete?

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