The Virtual University and college life: Some unintended consequences for democratic citizenship

David Resnick


Advocates of the Virtual University assume that the Internet can be used to replace the bricks and mortar campus. Even if the academic course work of higher education can be replicated online, what cannot are the organized extracurricular activities which have been a crucial component of a traditional college education. These activities create social capital, prepare students for civic engagement and combat the self-absorbed individualism which undermines democratic society. We would do well to think about their loss, and the unintended social consequences which flow from adopting the Virtual University as a model for higher education in the twenty-first century.

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