In cases where no better alternative exists, distance learning is a wonderful thing, even a life-saver for some:
Radio-based "School of the Air" instruction has been very useful in places like Australia, and created many educational opportunities long before the internet as we know it (e.g. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... );
While growing up in a remote part of Africa, I was spared exile to a faraway boarding school by two years of middle school correspondence courses from the Calvert school in Baltimore;
As a manager, I work with employees who can't simply walk away from their jobs and go to a campus- they need flexible distance curricula for their own advancement, in parallel with their employment;
A large number of our service-people benefit by online coursework in places where no alternative exists; surely we can all agree that education should not stop when a soldier ships off to war, yet some choose to lament the quality of the schools offering that service rather than try to make it better by actually sitting down with a soldier and helping them with their homework once they come back home and try to catch up.
That said... now is the time to defend the real and non-virtual, experiential education, and indeed to grow it. We can do this! And without behaving like Luddites and sequestering our students from the internet.