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There were 3 questions in the e-mail I got from President Rafael Reif.
1. Are in person lectures a thing of the past?
No. In person lectures are a thing of the education. The people who think in-person lectures are a thing of the past are those who think that the purpose of education is to provide just a skill so that people can earn a living. However, the primary purpose of education is to help students become critical members of a democratic society. For this purpose, what is needed is interaction with good teachers who are themselves critical thinkers. Online education is basically corporate agenda.
What MIT needs to do is to keep its educational model, get rid of military and corporate influences so that people can in fact learn to think in which ever directions their minds want to think in. Of course, if students want to join the military or corporates after their education, no one is stopping them. However, in formative years of their thinking, students should be given an environment of freedom of thought.
2. What does the classroom of 2020 look like?
Classroom of 2020 looks exactly like the classroom of 1920.
3. Should we re-think the 4 year system of residential education?
The right question to ask is: how can we, with the time-tested 4 year system of residential education, help our students in fact become critical thinkers in society, rather than just standardized automatons.
I just do not think I need to say much. People like Henry Giroux are the right people to look to when asking these kinds of questions.