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The Dangers of Distance Learning

I am writing in response to the column by Naveen Sunkavally ["Solid Recommenda-tions," Sept. 22] which suggests that MIT should endorse "distance learning," classes which are transmitted to student residences over the Internet. Such a practice would be damaging to MIT's educational program because it would essentially destroy the teacher-student relationship. Although many Institute classes do not encourage such a relationship in the present system, this proposal would make the situation far worse. Learning is an interactive experience, and to separate teacher from student physically would render this experience inhuman and ineffective. Taped lectures may appeal to lazy students who do not like to wake up in the morning, but it widens the damaging chasm between students and their instructors.

Jason H. Wasfy '01