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Slow Learners

November-December 2013

There continues to be much ado about online learning, through the edX partnership and elsewhere in higher education (see page 64). But other kinds of learning remain the dominant, most effectual form of education.

In “The Power of Patience” (page 40), Agassiz professor of the humanities Jennifer L. Roberts vividly makes the case for leading her students, in the classroom and at museums, to decouple from technology, in order to undertake the difficult work of immersive learning: mastering a subject through deliberate, demanding, direct engagement with their object of study. In “Learning, and Life, in the Houses” (page 46), deputy editor Craig Lambert considers the College’s residences: an experiment in American higher education, dedicated in the 1930s to the proposition that communities of students and adults could best learn from interacting with one another. That experiment, completely validated, is now being renewed—and perhaps matters more than ever in a newly digital century. For other perspectives on teaching and learning, please read the review of Higher Education in America, the latest, most sweeping overview of the subject by one of its foremost analysts: president emeritus Derek Bok (page 26). And in a penetrating profile, assistant editor Nell Porter Brown reports on John S. Wilson Jr., M.T.S. ’81, Ed.M. ’82, Ed.D. ’85 (page 72), who last January assumed the presidency of Morehouse College (the nation’s only private, liberal-arts institution dedicated to the education of African-American men).

* * *

Harvard is embarked on a capital campaign—huge in importance and in scale (see page 52). At this moment, we thank the loyal contributors to Harvard Magazine, whose steadfast support, modest by University standards, sustains high-quality publication on all readers’ behalf (see page 84).

~John S. Rosenberg, Editor

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