I was reading this article on the website of Canada's flagship newspaper, The Globe and Mail. The article was mostly speculation surrounding a discussion paper from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities tabling an idea that Ontario Universities compress their 4 year degrees into 3 year degrees. The author, a University professor, was aghast at the idea, covering a lot of ground in his rebuttal. One particular line of attack that disturbed me was the following: "The most unrealistic recommendation in the Ontario report is that students take more than half of their courses online. This would radically curtail the shared study that builds lifelong friendships – and the web of personal contacts that supports a successful career. Ontario universities are already experimenting with online courses; the results are sobering. Not even the most sophisticated software can replicate human interaction or foster the depth of learning generated by the classroom experience. I recently sat on a committee that interviewed undergraduate applicants for a semester abroad. When we reached the practical part of the interview, the students who had taken the online version of the prerequisite courses all underperformed. Three of them said to us: “I’m sorry, I took the online course. I know that was a mistake, I won’t do it again.” Aside from the dubious logic of extrapolating a single incident to a general assessment, I was also struck by the rather romantic notion the author had of the more traditional education's "shared study". It is also a rhetorical ploy to characterize Ontario Universities as "experimenting" with online learning. The "experiment" has been going on for years, and is deeply entrenched in the offerings. Where the author went next was also very interesting: "The Ontario report also forgets that students are people who mature at their own rate. This process can be encouraged, but it can’t be forced." The crux of this argument was that cramming 4 study years (or more) into 3 may do a disservice to those still finding themselves. I won't opine on the merits of what was explicitly quoted above. I do, however, note that the implicit assumption is that University students are all 18-21 years olds and in need of finding themselves. I think this is a fine illustration that a portion the bias against online education comes from within the walls of the University itself. I don't know the author from Adam. I have no idea if he has any particular axe to grind against online education, but I can see the limited perspective which is rooted in the traditional notion of the undergraduate experience.