As more colleges and universities adopt or expand their online learning capabilities, faculty are catching up—but slowly. According to a survey conducted last year by Inside Higher Education, three-quarters of instructors who taught online think it made them better teachers—largely because teaching online gets people thinking about pedagogy in new ways.
Still, a significant percentage of faculty remain skeptical about online teaching, though their reasons ranged from a lack of institutional support to distrust of online vendors. Beneath these worries, though, is a more fundamental one, and we think Kevin Gannon summed it up quite usefully in a recent ChronicleVitae article when he recalled his initial trepidation about online learning:
How was I going to preserve what I thought was most essential — the regular student interaction, the freewheeling give-and-take as we discussed a particular source or topic — if none of us would be together in the same physical space at the same time?