1st Edition

Exploring What is Lost in the Online Undergraduate Experience A Philosophical Inquiry into the Meaning of Remote Learning

By Steve Stakland Copyright 2023

    This book examines the significance and meaning of undergraduate online learning using a hermeneutic phenomenological study, asking what is lost when there is no face-to-face contact and exploring the essence of technology itself.

    Drawing on data from undergraduate students across various higher education institutions, including both interview recordings and written reports of their lived experiences, the author seeks to uncover the essence of the phenomenon by engaging with themes around the philosophy of technology and the purpose of post-secondary education, using Heidegger’s essay The Question Concerning Technology as a crucial interpretive lens. Rather than offering generalized conclusions, it presents a basis for further understanding of the experience of online learning and ultimately asks whether the efficiency afforded to undergraduates by online classes or degrees can ever replace what is learned in a classroom with other people.

    Providing a novel approach to the topic of online learning, which centers the concept of experience, and drawing links to current conditions and pedagogy in online higher education, it will appeal to scholars working across education and philosophy with interests in higher education, technology and education, phenomenology of education and philosophy of education.

    Foreword by by Holger Zaborowski

    1. Introduction: The Phenomenon, Methodology and Background to Participants

    2. The Withdrawn or Lost Face of Online Undergraduate Learning

    3. The Irksome Face of Online Undergraduate Learning

    4. Experiencing the Synchronous but Absent Face

    5. Writing to No Face and Everyone: The Present Absence

    6. Solitude and Inauthenticity

    7. Vulnerability and Community: Body and Conversation

    8. Reciprocal Voyeurism: Hiding from Others Together

    9. Narrowed Purpose: Text, Money and Efficiency

    10. The Game of Facelessness

    11. Response-Ability

    12. Facing the Void: Body and Soul

    13. Facing Some Parts of Learning Online Post-COVID-19

    14. The Post-COVID-19 Lacuna in Higher Education

    15. Interlude: Engaging Poetically with Insights and Implications

    16. Works and Days: A Response to the Void in Higher Education after COVID-19

    17. Face-to-Face Learning is a Focal Practice

    18. Death in the Desert: Finding the Soul of Undergraduate Learning

    19. Teaching Undergraduates after COVID-19: Harder to Learn to Let Learn than to Learn

    20. What is the Meaning of what is Lost in Non-Face-to-Face Teaching?

    21. Questioning is the Piety of Thought: The Wonder of Education


    Steve Stakland is Associate Professor and Philosophy Department Chair at Northern Virginia Community College, USA.