Current Learnings on E-Learning

From our first week’s readings, a lot of work is still needed in the area of E-Learning. Consistent messages of the need for more research in the area of E-Learning are prominent, specifically from Babour. Furthermore, from Babour (2013), I found it interesting that the Alberta Teacher’s Association is supportive of stopping cuts happening at the distance education level, however, they are not support of computer assited software. One would think that current examples of computer assisted instruction (such as Khan Academy) would offer leverage for the ATA to be supportive of computer assisted learning strategies.

 

Moving from a broad perspective of system change to a narrow perspective on terminology; I found it surprising that terminolyg is an issue of concern in E-Learning, however, I should have know that technological vocabulary is not easily communicated. For example, how often have we witnessed peers, co-workers, or family members access the internet only through “Internet Explorer” or stare at you blankly when you ask ” what is your current web browser?”. Language, especially in technology, quickly blends gray; what I mean is that several terms become synonymous with one another when they are quite distinct.

From  Grui-Rosenblit & Gros (2011) we see how language can cause research errors, making cross research comparison extremely challenging to consider legitimate to lack of understanding of technological vernacular. In addition, I can relate to the authors findings that students find face to face instruction more meaningful compared to online instruction; last semester I taught a course completely online where I provided a mid-way survey on the instruction and content delivery of the course; several students shared how they had more learning opportunities during conversations they had with teammate compared to our synchronous sessions using Adobe Connect. The student then went on to say the course might be more suitable in a face-to-face environment. Though difficult to hear (as it hurt my own pride) I understood that often face to face can be a better learnign experience, especially if one considers what a student is use to.

And finally, I was somewhat saddened by our last reading, where Allen and Seaman (2014) contend that the two main purposes of MOOCs from a University’s perspective are to promote the name of the University and encourage and increase student enrolment. Though I understand that a univeristy needs to pay their professors and continually find ways to promote students to enrol, I thought the main reason might be similar to Salman Khan’s approach (Khan Acamedy) of doing it for the learning: making learnign accesible to all. But I guess I was wrong, forgetting that even in the higher education world, greenbacks can often make the world go round.

Barbour, M.K. (2013). State of the nation study: K-12 online learning in Canada. Victoria, BC: Open School BC.

www.academia.edu/…da._Victoria_BC_Open_School_BC 


Grui-Rosenblit, S. & Gros, G. (2011). E-Learning: Confusing Terminology, Research Gaps and Inherent Challenges. <i>The Journal of Distance Education, 25</i>(1).


Allen, I. and Seaman, J. (2014) Grade Change: Tracking Online Learning in the United States Wellesley MA: Babson College/Sloan Foundation

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