I believe in online education. I don't prefer it either as a teacher or a student. But I believe in it. Most of the arguments against it are vastly outweighed by its advantages, that is, if it is done have right.
Here are some things I believe about online education:
1. Because everyone has to participate in an online class, the average learning in an online class will almost always far exceed the average learning in an onsite class...
... that is, unless the onsite teacher uses teaching methods that engage every student, and every student's learning style...
... which hardly any professors do. Most of us prefer to lecture, perhaps the least effective of all teaching methods.
2. I do prefer embodiment, embodied interaction. But I guarantee you in keeping with #1 that there's a whole lot more interaction on the whole in an online class than there is in the vast majority of onsite ones.
Those who make a big deal about email, texting, etc. being the bane of society have a point--for their personality. One of the great things about doing the Myers-Briggs personality inventory when I went to seminary was the realization that other people don't think the way I do. Learning of the different Kolb learning styles had the same effect. So many people just assume that what works for them is what works for everyone else.
Wrong! Don't impose your personality on other people if it doesn't apply.
3. Online education is here to stay. There are some pitiful academics who said it was a fad (like the internet) when it first came out. There are some accrediting bodies that are holding tightly onto at least some embodied courses... and the institutions where they hold power will be the first to close. New accrediting bodies are already rising up and causing the old ones to get with it or go out of business.
Not even a question. Get with it or get run over.
4. Now for my AHA moment. One of the aspects of online education that is potentially hampering is the inability to go to a library and browse. Now IWU has excellent library services that send books to distance students when they are requested. The problem for me is the difficulty in browsing. I like to go browse a shelf at the library. I will inevitably find books I wouldn't have known about, just because they're shelved in a section I'm looking at.
Here was my AHA moment. Google Books has made it possible for me to do one better than a bibliography for a class whether onsite or online. Right now one of my undergraduate classes is doing an interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:4. I have a set of 2 Thessalonians commentaries on reserve in the library. And I have the same set of books and a few more in an online library by way of Google Books here. There they can search this set of books that I've set up for them.
Google has a function for searching other people's "libraries." Just imagine if, over time, we were to create Wiki-libraries based on bibliographical categories!