What do you call a technology that looks promising but always lets you down? In this essay, I point out that one example is micropayments. Another example, I argue, is virtual classrooms.

Most web-based education software seems designed to enable a teacher to make course materials, such as lectures, accessible by computer. However, if access to lectures were the issue, then the VCR would have been the ultimate solution in distance learning.

What I always say is that Teaching Equals Feedback. In a classroom, students are giving teachers feedback (much of it nonverbal) as to how well they are absorbing the material. In grading problem sets, papers, and tests, teachers provide feedback to students about where they need to work harder. The feedback loop is essential to the learning process.

For Discussion. Have you ever used educational software that really facilitated feedback between students and professors?