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Online learning and higher education: a gentle stroll through some questions and considerations Part three

10/03/2016
minn Michael Stewart
Lingwa: EN

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The story so far…

In parts one and two of this series of six short articles, we considered the potential impact of digital technologies on education and the questions this raises for those contemplating the design of an eLearning course. This week we look at where we are today and where we might be in the longer term.

There’s a lot of technology out there, where do I start?

Start by quantifying the technology and digital applications that sit within your comfort zone; begin by taking stock of where you are.

Accept that there will always be an emerging technology that will remain beyond your grasp in the short term; financially, intellectually and/or practically. Unless you inhabit the inner sanctum of a major IT company, there will always be someone who knows more than you.

Be pragmatic; it is extremely unlikely that these rapidly evolving technologies will remain static long enough for you to fully absorb the intricacies of their functionality, potential applications and potential impact at a pace that suits your current circumstances. There are IT people out there whose sole purpose in life is to push the boundaries of the possible. Your job is to test drive their results, to provide the interface between technologist and learner.

Take heart, the interactive whiteboard, data projector and graphic pad used to be the stuff of fantasy. Today they are commonplace, part of the general infrastructure that supports the delivery of education; now they feature in our classrooms and lecture theatres like all too familiar wallpaper.

Was it so very long ago that the delivery of education via mobile devices, such as the smartphone and tablet, was a topic for debate? Now it is generally accepted that this is not only a viable option, but a practical and logical application of technologies that has become integral to modern life.

You can access the complete article 'Online learning and higher education: a gentle stroll through some questions and considerations Part three' by following the link here.

Missed the previous instalment of Online Learning and Higher Education? Read the previous chapter “Online learning and higher education: another stroll through some questions and considerations Part two" by following the link here.

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Michael Stewart

 

Michael Stewart has extensive experience in the writing, directing and delivery of education programmes across a range of media. More recently as a member of the board and management team of the Interactive Design Institute, Michael has fulfilled a wide variety of functions including the development of a pedagogy for online delivery.

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  • Michael Stewart's picture

    Thanks for your comments Anna. I too was an academic for many years and spent a great deal of that time exploring the process of teaching. While I now find myself an advocate of the online model, I fully accept that the human contact enabled by the face to face model is a form of interaction that is invaluable. However, I also feel that we must developeLearning strategies to benefit those who are unable to access traditional modes of learning for whatever reason. Additional, we should explore the possibilities offered by blended learning models. The mistake is to polarise the eLearning versus face to face debate. It needn't be either or and both models have much to offer the learner.

  • Michael Stewart's picture

    Thanks for your comments Anna. I too was an academic for many years and spent a great deal of that time exploring the process of teaching. While I now find myself an advocate of the online model, I fully accept that the human contact enabled by the face to face model is a form of interaction that is invaluable. However, I also feel that we must developeLearning strategies to benefit those who are unable to access traditional modes of learning for whatever reason. Additional, we should explore the possibilities offered by blended learning models. The mistake is to polarise the eLearning versus face to face debate. It needn't be either or and both models have much to offer the learner.

  • Anna Kwiatkowska's picture

    Thanks for this set of articles. I was an academic teacher for a long time. Now I work as an educator of adult persons with intellectual disability. I can see changes. My educational methods were changing from year to year. Using digital technology in education process makes the education attractive. What more - we can easily show what previously we were only able to explain in words and freehand drawings. Lately I'm impressed by the application showing the sun way on the sky in different months in a place defined by geographical coordinators.

    But, in my opinion, having such wonderful technology, we can not loose chance to contact with other people - face to face contact.