Virtual Education…

A couple of days ago I saw this status update on my Facebook feed:  Just overheard a student say: “I can’t wait until all the classes at FSU are virtual.”

It got the wheels turning and me thinking about all sorts of things.  I could go in various directions with this post.  I could write about how we seem to be drifting out of our real lives and into cyber ones (and I am most definitely included in this as I spend a great deal of time connecting with others through my computer).  I could write about how helpful it would be for us to take time during our days to turn off our phones, close our laptops and just BE Present.  I could also talk about how important I think it is that Universities stick with business as usual as well as offering more options for those who need them.  But what (or who) I’ve decided to write about is Dr. John Hancock.

Dr. Hancock, or John as he insisted we call him, was one of my history professors in college.  In fact, I loved him so much that I took 3 classes with him and would have taken more if they were offered.  He was incredibly passionate about history and politics.  When I sat in his classes, I could feel his energy.  I soaked it up, listened intently, and always left wanting more.  It was because of him that I decided on a concentration in History.  He was larger than life, yet he was one of us.  He wore jeans to class and would often be found indulging in a pre or post-class cigarette.  But when he stood before us talking about slavery or the Vietnam War, he was brilliant.  He put his heart and soul into his work.  I’m not sure if his passion would have been as apparent if I’d taken his class in my own living room, virtually.  I would have missed the way he moved around the room or the way his eyes lit up.

He influenced my life tremendously.  My passion for Civil Rights was ignited in his classroom.  He gave me the words and background for what was in my heart.  He taught me not only history, but compassion for my fellow man.  In essence, he gave me the facts and the figures to explain my bleeding heart.  And it happened because I was THERE with him, because I spent two semesters and a summer session in his presence.

I am grateful that I had the ability and the means to go to college.  There is nothing like the feeling of sitting in the classroom with someone that is on fire about a particular topic.  Sure there were lots of times I was lazy, tired, and barely awake.  If I have any regrets, that is one of them, that I didn’t take advantage of those great minds that graced my presence for my 4+ years in college.  Online degrees are a good option for those with busy lives and no superpowers, but to think that a regular full-time student might wish that all their classes were virtual makes me a little bit sad.

What about you?  Care to tell us about a teacher that influenced your life or share your thoughts on virtual universities….

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