Rate this response: 

Average: 2 (1 vote)

I taught math at the US Naval Academy for 15 years, and since have been doing large network consulting, with some major corporations as clients.

I have two points to make:

(1) We find that we do best when we are onsite in-person for 3 days to 2 weeks, with occasional later 2-5 day visits onsite. We use Cisco webex for remote meetings and so on, both internally and with clients. The in-person aspect is essential to "bond" with the customer. Subsequent work and discussions seem to go a lot better due to trust and a feel for the other people that was gained when onsite. The periodic updates refresh that. I'm not sure how well visits every couple of months could work for international students on a frugal budget.

IDEA: It might be cheaper and better to have a traveling professor. (Come to think of it, I like travel and I'd enjoy that, up to say 40-50% travel anyway.) Course content / presentations can be done from anywhere with a decent Internet connection these days. Even TV cameras and audio mixers are very portable, as I saw in some recent Network Field Day 5 experiences and recording a PacketPushers podcast in a 5th floor hotel lobby in San Jose.

(2) One reason for career change was frustration and boredom, another was that I anticipated some of the shift to e-learning. I did expect it to happen a lot faster. I've been mulling over my reaction to U of Phoenix or the like. Am I being a snob in not being impressed with their grads? The teachers are certainly cut-rate and perhaps not too dedicated, from what I've seen and heard, and what my daughters experienced with some summer e-courses via the local community college.

IDEA: It is key for the educational org. to validate / certify the skills of the student, that's what employers need. That is currently the difference between an on-campus MIT student and grad and someone who viewed e-content and had some (light?) interaction with a professor or TA. Certification could be done via test (although I loathe the Cisco Vue tests -- sloppy and factoid centric rather than emphasizing the important skills and knowledge). In-person does it (to some degree) by apprenticeship, where the faculty member observes the student in action and can observe skiills or lack thereof directly.

A New Financial Model, Improving accessibility and affordability, distance learning, in-person bonding, skills validation, certification, certification of skills