I was taught that learning is in class and practice was at home. Having a partner allows one to see if one's art is effective. I was also taught not to focus on uke but to move properly for the technique (art) to work properly.
Appropriate, perhaps, for a student with some instruction under his/her belt (as are all the suggestions about shadow-waza, weapons kata and suburi, etc.). Not so much for a brand new beginner.