What’s So Distant About Distance Learning? Online Learning in Regulatory Affairs Graduate Programs

| 01 August 2010

I am writing as a convert. Not as a zealot, per se, but certainly as someone who was not immediately predisposed to be a strong supporter of online graduate education. My own career trajectory pointed in quite the opposite direction. Prior to coming to Northeastern University as an assistant dean in 2006, I had spent nearly 20 years at two of the most prestigious educational institutions in the US. For my doctoral training in the history and sociology of science I followed a traditional path that did not differ from what was common in the late 19th century. I studied at the feet of a world-renowned expert who spoke with an Eastern European accent so thick that no casual listener would believe she had been in the country for three decades. Our seminars were held at her townhouse in Boston's historic South End, with fine wine and cheeses with uncertain smells and unpronounceable names. By the end of each term, only two or three students would remain enrolled in the course. Writing my dissertation was a painful process. When she died in 2000, it felt as if the mantle of traditional graduate studies had fallen upon my shoulders.


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