Is the Campus Obsolete?

This coming Friday at 2:00pm CDT, join me for a conversation about whether on-campus learning is necessary, and if so, why.

Contact me for the Zoom login info. sorina[dot]higgins[at]signumu[dot]org.

In this time of corona, many are speculating that a great number of colleges and universities will move online permanently, at least in part. Some hail this as the next great thing that will help save higher education. Some say that online learning needs to go back to being a tiny minority of the courses students take, that it can have a supporting role only.

Baylor University Campus - Picture of BlueSky Helicopter Tours ...
Baylor Unversity

The pragmatic questions about whether to re-open campuses in the fall, how to keep students/faculty/staff safe, whether to create some hybrid form of learning, and what the role of online learning should be in the future also raise much deeper philosophical questions about the nature and necessity of the body-mind connection: Is there something about embodiment that is conducive to human flourishing? Do colleges and universities have greater responsibilities beyond the dissemination of information and the teaching of skills, and if so, do those duties include physical training, community building, and other in-person activities? Does education include nurture of the whole self or just the mind? Where do sports belong in higher ed? Can religious institutions engage in “discipleship” or “Christian formation” or other similar tasks at a distance, over the internet? Are relationships real relationships when conducted via audio and video, without touch or proximity? Online learning is cheaper by far than the maintenance of expensive campuses; would it be better stewardship of tuition money and other financial resources? Isn’t college a kind of weird, artificial environment anyway, when we take a whole generation of young people all the same age, all the same educational qualifications, more or less the same socio-economic background, probably a majority with some shared culture, and have them all live together in a small space? Wouldn’t it be more culturally healthy to keep them in their local communities, mixing with babies and adults and older folks, living around the corner from somebody with a drastically different income, thinking about real-world problems instead of only on-campus ones?

Organisation | University of Oxford
Oxford University

Let’s meet to talk about the specifics of what your school plans to do in the fall and the more general theories about on-campus vs. online learning. Everyone is invited, not just English profs., whether you’re teaching online for the first time, the thousandth time, or not at all!

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