On May 8, 2012, Edvance director Brian Mitchell’s letter to the editor appeared in the New York Times:
In “The Campus Tsunami” (column, May 4), David Brooks argues that American higher education must deal with online education, embracing it as a tool to transmit inexpensive and global knowledge. He suggests that the test will be how online education can push higher education away from information transmission and up to higher things.
Mr. Brooks is correct that online education is a powerful driver, illustrated by the Harvard-MIT investment in free online courses. These schools have it right; they will use online education to interpret data on how students learn. Ultimately, that’s the point of the exercise.
It’s not that the Socratic method is worse than technology-based learning or even imperiled by it. They’re simply different and complementary teaching styles. The fine point is that global culture has embraced an alternative approach. That’s good, because the negotiated truce is likely a mutually reinforced “more and also” if American education is to remain our most influential export.