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November 6, 2000

Although they may admit there's an inevitable tide toward Web instruction, some APSU faculty probably will remain convinced that something of immeasurable--if intangible--value is being bartered in the higher education market.

What price can be placed on impromptu discussions between a student and a faculty member? What begins as a simple question about an assignment may evolve into a more substantive discussion-and life goals may be changed or cemented, new philosophies birthed and appreciation of different opinions, gained.

Without doubt, there's truth to all such arguments. However, one of the tenets of a liberal arts education is an eagerness to learn, to test the unknown and the ability to adapt what one learned to new situations.
"The Tennessean" article quotes Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as saying she's heard many professors say they actually get to know their students better over the Web. E-mail doesn't require students to find professors during office hours.

"It's a different form of communication, but that doesn't mean it's a diminished form of communication," Eaton said. "It really comes down to how you put it together."

In the last paragraph of the article, Eaton says, "This is new, and it is dramatic, and it is hitting pretty hard and fast. On-line learning has really made a fundamental difference."