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We take issue with statements in the Oct. 8 editorial (“Online hike lacks class”) regarding the online course experience here at UNC.

As instructors for both the on-campus and Carolina Courses Online (CCO) versions of a systems physiology course, we know first-hand that the two versions of the course are comparable in content and academic rigor. Many of our students report that our online course vastly exceeds their expectations; that student-student and instructor-student interactions are far more educationally valuable than those occurring in comparable lecture courses; and taking the course online prepares them to retain the course content better than any classroom study could. Clearly, their comments do not support the Editorial Board’s contention that online education is “a suboptimal learning environment” and that online classes “have far less educational value”.

Furthermore, we challenge the statement that “UNC requires students to take online courses because the University doesn’t have the capacity to teach them in person”. The on-campus version of our course has been offered every spring semester for more than 30 years, and never has a student been turned away due to lack of capacity.

Marianne Meeker, Ph.D.
Virginia Shea, Ph.D.
Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology

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