Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Online Education: Still better than Neo-Luddites fear, still worse than Techno-Zealots & Pseudo-Egalitarians claim

Online Education:  Still better than Neo-Luddites fear, still worse than Techno-Zealots & Pseudo-Egalitarians claim;  but stakes, pressure higher.

Newest forms of online education have, once again, the potential for raising the floor of education worldwide - for providing useful education to millions who would otherwise get little or none [see history of UNISA, esp. during apartheid].

Meanwhile, the newest forms of online education, once again, are already being explored, adapted, and integrated within the wealthiest, most competitive, most selective colleges and universities.  Improving, once again, what many believe to be the best higher education in the world.  These institutions can afford to explore the newest technological innovations before they are proven effective - and cannot afford not to.  For these institutions, the financial risk is comfortable and the risk of missing out on the next "big thing" is unacceptable.  [Regents of University of Virginia did not understand that their institution is not solidly in this category.]

And, once again, the most challenging question is "How can new forms of online education improve learning for those in the middle?"

  • Don't confuse the floor with the ceiling
    Don't confuse the floor (good enough for other people's children) with the ceiling (good enough for our children).
  • Hybrids always win - for those who can afford them
  • No Moore's Law for human learning
  • We can't make most people learn in the same way that we do - the way we like best, the way we achieved our success.  This applies to:
  • A.  Romantic Techno-Zealots (technology as individualizing, self-actualizing), 
  • B.  Romantic Neo-Luddites (technology only undermines deep learning, human connections), and  
  • C.  Hyperrational PseudoEgalitarians (everyone should accept what can be provided by the technology  and practices that fit within the boundaries of current methods of observation and measurement)

See:  UNISA, WGU, SecondLife

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