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ERIC Number: EJ1095204
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
Contagion in the Classroom: Or, What Empathy Can Teach Us about the Importance of Face-to-Face Learning
Major, William
Liberal Education, v100 n4 Fall 2014
Debates over online education versus old-school brick-and mortar, face-to-face instruction generally go in one of several directions, often at the same time. Advocates for online instruction might point to the freedom it provides the learner who can advance at his or her own pace, retrieving and reviewing materials, attending "lectures," solving problems at 3:00 a.m. as well as at noon. Such advocates also point to the increasing elasticity of online delivery, which is now not simply based on a bulky and impersonal interface in which students "post" papers and other materials into a web portal and wait to hear from the instructor. Today, of course, students have access to lectures, notes, live-streaming, real-time interaction with other students and instructors, instant feedback (or nearly so), and even platforms that allow professors to "see" students and vice versa. Many enthusiasts also argue for its increasingly cheaper cost. Even advocates of the lecture hall or the seminar room have to be impressed by these developments, and one can foresee future refinements in platforms and technologies that will make the online experience even more seamless. In this article, William Major tends to agree with those who note that face to face contact is essential for learning. Major agrees that missing from the arguments of the Pro-contact, pro classroom advocates are the recent advancements in learning and cognition coming from the sciences. We are now understanding that humans and other primates learn through mimicry and imitation by seeing, sensing, and hearing what others do and say who are in close bodily proximity to ourselves. In this article Major makes the argument that in order to learn, we need presence, which he defines as the power of contagion.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A