With the current pandemic, all my summer classes are now delivered online. A phrase said by many my professors in the first week is, “we want to make this experience as close to in person as possible.”
While I appreciate the sentiment I think it misses the point.
Delivering courses on campus and delivering courses online are two different mediums, both with their own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, online delivery has its weaknesses: the lack of human interaction, lab-heavy equipment, and the structure to name a few. On the other hand, online delivery has many strengths: video lectures, class sizes are scalable, not restricted by location, etc.
This is a pattern that happens with any new technology. When radio was first invented, entertainment studios tried to replicate in-person plays on radio. Or when the smart phone was first invented, many apps were just websites on a smaller screen.
Whenever we transfer to a new, more advanced medium, it requires us to evolve the message with it. The same is true with the shift of education from in person to online.