"Direct transmission" in budo usually means that the student experiences his or her teacher firsthand. In aikido this would mean that the student gets to work with the teacher (ie gets thrown around, usually).
I wasn't there to hear what Paula's teacher had to say about this so it's difficult at best to comment on what her teacher meant. However, maybe he meant that "direct transmission" can also take place by watching? Perhaps you can ask him sometime in the future (and let us know his response)...
My own feeling is that taking ukemi from a teacher is one of the best ways to learn from him or her. I think I've said here before that I believe ukemi to be the most important part of aikido practice; in that, I agree fully with that Mike writes above.
One thing, though, is that most teachers are accessible. If you're not understanding something or want to feel that teacher, try turning to him or her and basically saying, "onegaishimasu." I've seen this done in tons of seminars where a student wanted to "feel" what was going on.
Hope that helps, Paula.