UF holds symposium: ‘Bricks and Mortar in a Digital Age: The Uncertain Future of Higher Education’

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by Julie Dodd

Our class discussion of “Rebooting the academy: 12 tech innovators who are transforming campuses” included discussion of the pros and cons of different instructional approaches.

land_grant_2Can online courses be as effective as face-to-face classes in building community and getting student engagement?

Does the content and purpose of the course determine what is the best delivery method?

Do online courses provide the access needed to allow people to earn college degrees who can’t afford to attend classes in a traditional bricks-and-mortar setting?

The University of Florida is holding a symposium to discuss many of those issues — “Bricks and Mortar in a Digital Age: The Uncertain Future of Higher Education.” The symposium is April 11.

The symposium has been part of a series of activities and events that UF has been holding this year to honor the 150th anniversary of land-grant universities — as UF is a land-grant university.

land_grant_tv1At the first UF Faculty Senate meeting of the school year last August, President Machen talked about celebrating UF’s heritage as a land-grant university, with a number of events during the year, including this symposium.

I realized how serious President Machen was about promoting the land-grant connection when he showed the Senate the 30-second UF commercial that was going to run during the halftimes of televised UF football games.

Those who’ve seen the UF commercials during the last several years remember The Gator Nation theme that was promoted. This year’s commercial started with an image of Abraham Lincoln and the Union troops and explained how Lincoln and Congress establishing the Morrill Act that created the land-grant university system. No “Go Gators” and no orange-and-blue clad students and alums.

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