Wednesday, August 29, 2012

From Today's WSJ - The Living, Breathing Professor

What really matters is the set of deeper abilities—to write effectively, argue persuasively, solve problems creatively, adapt and learn independently—that students develop while in college and use for the rest of their lives.

At Williams College, where I work, we've analyzed which educational inputs best predict progress in these deeper aspects of student learning. The answer is unambiguous: By far, the factor that correlates most highly with gains in these skills is the amount of personal contact a student has with professors. Not virtual contact, but interaction with real, live human beings, whether in the classroom, or in faculty offices, or in the dining halls. Nothing else—not the details of the curriculum, not the choice of major, not the student's GPA—predicts self-reported gains in these critical capacities nearly as well as how much time a student spent with professors.

What follows from this finding is obvious, but apparently in need of saying these days: What we do is expensive—and worth it—because these rich, human interactions can't be replaced by any magical application of technology.
 
 
 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444327204577615592746799900.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

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