Opinion: Online learning is not a retreat — it’s how we’re advancing university education

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Our faculty, and our students, are learning new ways to engage the world in their studies, as we no longer have the constraints of transportation and time required for guest speakers — they enter the classroom from their living rooms anywhere in the world. This is one of dozens of ways the educational product is being enhanced for today, and for the long-term through new comfort levels with advanced technology.

There is also a great deal to analyze and learn from during this specific period in history, and being online allows students and faculty to work safely and keep a focus on learning. This is not the first pandemic, and it will not be the last. The timeliness of learning safely during the time of a pandemic allows students to fully grasp and experience the situation in real time, gaining understanding and knowledge that will better prepare them for future shocks.

I would say this helps them to become resilient, but as Nicholas Nassim Taleb argues, resilience is not enough and, instead, we must pursue anti-fragility. “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

Finally, the students coming to university this fall will be served up with the most up-to-date, new, sophisticated teaching experience of all time. At our school, educational leaders have developed a model based on the five Cs of Connection, Communication, Compassion, Consistency and Confidence.

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