Rise in virtual classes: Keep it in the classroom

In a world where 6-year-olds have iPhones and we spend more time posting pictures on Instagram than having legitimate conversations, one would hope that the hallowed halls of learning would still be sacred and not infiltrated with technology.
We were wrong.
Distance learning has been pushed at many universities and FGCU is no exception. With facility usage being a large issue on this campus, students were pushed out of the classroom and into laying-in-bed-in-pajamas-with-a-laptop.
The problem with this method, however, is that distance learning is inefficient.
FGCU currently has five graduate programs that can be completed solely online, as well as three undergraduate degrees in which all upper division courses can be completed online.
If you were to ask students on campus if they learned anything from the understanding visual and performing arts course that is mandated for all students to take online, a vast majority would say no — and I know this because I am one of them.
I have taken many other classes online, and I find that they are incredibly ineffective. Sure, they may be easy, but they certainly aren’t worth it.
The most common online courses also seem to be the most futile. Philosophy, government and history courses are often offered solely online; these are courses in which human interaction and communication is pertinent.
There isn’t a problem with offering online courses, but the problem lies when students aren’t given the option to take classes in a classroom.
Virtual classes give no opportunity for students to gain a personal connection with what they are learning, nor does it allow for students to better their communication and speaking skills. Although some virtual courses have discussion boards for students to partake in, this is in no way an alternative to in-personal communication and contact.
I am well aware that finding space is difficult, but we are here to learn. Courses on Fridays and the new Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule may not be the most popular option, but it is much better than the alternative— learning disappearing from the classrooms.
Lecture time is when the most learning happens, and robbing a student of the opportunity to better him/herself through distance learning is unfair.
I am not entirely against all forms of distance learning, and I see value in virtual courses, but for the most part it belongs in the classrooms.
One of the university’s guiding principles is the commitment to quality education and learning:
“Student success is at the center of all University endeavors. The University is dedicated to the highest quality education that develops the whole person for success in life and work. Learner needs, rather than institutional preferences, determine priorities for academic planning, policies, and programs… Quality teaching is demanded, recognized, and rewarded.”
If our university demands, recognizes and rewards quality teaching, then why are we settling for the mediocrity that is distant learning?
Keep the learning in Dunk City.