Archive for March, 2014
A near-perfect analogy from my favourite blogger, Clarissa:
So we went to the theater last night (driven all the way to St. Louis by yours truly, I might add.) And as I was watching the play, I imagined what it would feel like to watch the same play online.
Obviously, I’d get what the play was about and know what the actors looked like. But the entire experience of dressing up, driving there, being at the theater, feeling festive and anticipating the show, being surrounded by other theater lovers, being close to the actors, observing everything in a way no camera can replicate, experiencing the collective surge of emotions during the play, leaving the theater with other spectators, brought together by the shared experience of seeing the play, feeling slightly off-kilter as we reintegrated into the reality outside of the theater – none of that could even remotely be replicated by watching the play on a computer screen.
Everybody should get a chance to see a real play. Everybody should get a chance to be in a real classroom. Computer technology can be put to a multitude of wonderful uses. Let’s not use it to segregate.
Teaching online – doing it well, at any rate – is a lot of work, and not cheap, says University of California President Janet Napolitano:
[Napolitano] called the development of online courses merely “a tool for the toolbox.”
For higher education, she said, “It’s not a silver bullet, the way it was originally portrayed to be. It’s a lot harder than it looks, and by the way if you do it right it doesn’t save all that much money, because you still have to have an opportunity for students to interact with either a teaching assistant or an assistant professor or a professor at some level.”
As for preparing the courses, “if they’re really going to be top-quality, that’s an investment as well.” Taking aim at the dream that online learning might be most useful for students needing help in remedial courses in subjects like English and math, Napolitano said: “I think that’s false; those students need the teacher in the classroom working with them.”
From the Vancouver Province: “A former employee is accusing the top brass at Kwantlen Polytechnic University of handing out wage increases over and above a provincially mandated salary cap by hiding them as other expenses.”