E-Learning and Technology

E-Learning 2.0 By Stephen Downes
October 17, 2005

I could be a bit naive about education and course development but how much harder can it be to transfer the curriculum online? I mean if the education system can provide the teacher with standards for creating curriculum why can’t the educators get excited and motivated about using technology to provide a learning platform? I don’t understand why they want to get in the way of a large tsunami such as open internet access.

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4 thoughts on “E-Learning and Technology

  1. Hi Steven, I agree with you. I think it has a lot to do with $$$. The most technologically advanced organizations are the for-profit companies that have the time, manpower, and financial resources to invest in getting the on-line tools that help them advertise and move their products without the overhead. Some examples that come to mind are #1 banks. Banking on-line, paying bills, signing up for new cheking and savings accounts can all be done online and that makes them even more money. That why they have such big bonuses. Another example is bookstores and music stores online; like Amazon, itunes, Boarders, etc. THere is a lot of incentive to get all their items and buying online cause they don’t have to pay rent on store space, heating, and all the other things that come with having a store in each state to walk into and browse.

    THe bottom line is financial incentive.

  2. Hi Gilbert,

    a lot of educators are excited about learning and teaching with technology.

    I agree, we do have educators who are trying to put on the brakes, but I think they are increasingly in the minority. Doing course development online does require somewhat different skills than planning a f2f interaction.

    It is a paradigm shift, and one that takes time and energy to get used to. I think it is a good shift, one that emphasizes social interaction and social construction of knowledge, which plays out differently in asynchronous environments. This is where web 2.0 can come in handy; it can speed up the communication process and give a versatile tool for communication where people can choose the one the best suits their needs.

    But back to the original comment: Many educators are spending many-many unpaid hours to build online courses and many administrators are spending many paid hours to make decisions about what technology to buy, etc.

  3. There are a number of inhibiting factors… not the least of which is pay. Often teachers are asked to take on the additional load of teaching online courses (above their F2F workload) and aren’t given any extra pay to do it. The reality is that teaching online is more work than F2F (plenty of studies reflect this). Add to that a lack of training and support that is accompanied by a mandate to succeed… and that’s for the one’s that want to teach online. Many just can’t let go of “traditional” methods and refuse to take on a new approach to delivery. I work with a guy that routinely preaches “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “when technology becomes the master, we reach disaster faster.” He may have a point with the latter – curriculum should come before the technology – but he’s definitely one that can’t let go of the past. I can say that having taught the same course F2F and online, the latter is a whole different animal even though it’s essentially the same curriculum.

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