My new column is up at LJ!
I may have a bit of a bias, but I would much rather my students make the short trip to their desks and computers instead of commuting across town or farther. Time saved on travel could roll over into time spent on coursework or finding balance among school, work, and life. Money saved on gas and travel could transform into paying for classes or student loans.
Other students may be drawn to the classroom, to in-person interaction with a professor and other classmates. I would argue, however, that the technologies available at San José State that allow me to lecture, interact with, and guide my students rival those classrooms. My weekly drop-in office hours via web conferencing software give students a chance to ask a question or just say hi. An integrated IM program automatically populates class tabs with my student rosters, so faculty and students can exchange quick messages.