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Letters to the Editor: Don’t expect distance learning to inspire or even educate many students

 Staff at Hosler Middle School in Lynwood distribute computers to facilitate distance learning for students on April 23.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Kudos to educator Jeremy S. Adams for alerting us to the dangers of equating technological aids with the connections made between a teacher and students in a traditional classroom.

Personal connections matter. Technology has changed the culture of teaching to such a degree that instructors from high school through college feel pressure to use PowerPoint even when what appears on the screen merely duplicates what they are saying.

The result is an increasing decline in extemporaneous lecturing and teaching and a reciprocal passivity in the student-listener. The teacher spoon-feeds and the student never learns how to take notes.

Peter Brier, Altadena

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The writer is a professor emeritus of English at Cal State Los Angeles.

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To the editor: As an educator, I too agree that distance learning alone is not the future; however, campus learning will never be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic. The future of learning will not be completely online nor on-campus, but rather a hybrid model.

The new normal can address one of campus learning’s most important opportunities that is missing on current online platforms: meaningful interaction with diverse peers.

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This new hybrid way of education is being developed on campuses such as at USC in the engineering school, where we have joined with 14 other leading institutions to provide access for students to interact with their peers in classrooms across four continents. The result has led to divergent ideas and cultural understanding, which are most important in today’s increasingly divisive world.

If we can take the best of what both on-campus and online learning offer, we can turn concerns about the future of education into an exciting opportunity in the post-pandemic era.

Stephen Lu, Rolling Hills Estates

The writer is a professor of engineering at USC and director of the university’s iPodia program.


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