In my classroom at the community college where I teach, students can sit in two types of seats: at computers, which are arranged in horseshoe formation facing three walls in the room,or at the four rows of long desks that are in the center, The Atlantic reports.
It’s a tight space, each table seating seven students. But every morning we meet, as if by instinct, my freshmen choose these desks over the individual computer stations. They wait to be asked before logging onto the PCs — and they wait sitting quite close together. They are an ethnically diverse group from various Baltimore communities, different socioeconomic backgrounds, and a wide range of college preparedness.
Their desire to sit shoulder-to-shoulder, facing me, is essential. It means, whether they realize it or not, that their concept of college is driven by human interaction. The Internet, which many of them access nonstop through smartphones, is a secondary resource in our classroom. I, the live person, smiling encouragingly as they expound on a thought, am the first.
… Generational access to higher education makes it far easier to conceive of a society where the average citizen can afford to eschew the in-person college experience and “just learn what they need online.”
… Six years in this career have taught me that online instruction, while valuable and convenient for many, is still no substitute for what can be found in a physical classroom–especially for students whose primary and high schools either invested very little interest in or actively discouraged their attending college in the first place.
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