By DAVID MCDONALD
It is somewhat ironic for me to be teaching classes online. The college at which I work, St. John’s College in Santa Fe, has kept to in-person conversational learning even when other schools were venturing into online education. The public health threat of COVID-19 pushed us rapidly into a realm that was new to us.
In many ways, our academic program looks traditional, even retrograde. We have always insisted that face-to-face collaborative discussion is the best way to learn. Our educational equipment is a book, a table, chairs and the occasional blackboard.
No laptops, tablets or projectors will be seen in our classrooms. Primary are the people participating in the discussion and the books that give us a rich way of engaging in the life of the mind. For us, the life of the mind is integral with experience, and a way of coming to terms with it – a way of trying to understand ourselves and the world we live in. At St. John’s, we have been very at home with this approach: low-tech, minimally mediated, embodied.
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