Elearning wave of the future

Response Paper#8

To use Elearning, or Not to use Elearning?

In the paper “The work of education in the age of ecollege,” professor Werry discuses the pros and cons of the commodification of education through the “Elearning” model propagated by for-profit industry/the corporation. The author first sets the exigence faced by colleges as, “we [corporations] are going to eat your lunch” if you don’t jump on the branding ecommerce band wagon design for higher elearning education. The author then goes through multiplicity ideas on different strategies of elearning associated with corporate branding, such the example “3.2 College portals and the outsourcing of computing services: Campus Pipline”. Which brings up the question of, how much advertisement in the elearning environment is too much? The author cites the issue of teachers’ intellectual property rights, as an issue for internet courses, in that their personal intellectual property (the course), once published online through the elearning, are now owned by the company.

While I enjoyed learning about the woes of ecommerce in relation to elearning, at times it was a bit difficult to apply the information to my life. While I have taken 1 all online class here at SDSU, and 1 hybrid class at SDSU as well, I wasn’t quite sure if you were addressing the same type of class in your paper; therefore I was unsure if I could reasonably make a comparison between your examples. I recognize the difficulty with the fact that I had no experience with your topic of elearning, so I rectified the situation by taking an internet based/elearning class. I have wanted to take a physics class for a while now, but the thought of having to sign up for an entire semester class was a bit discouraging. I decided to visit the MIT website and watch a free open-source physics course. The course was a recording of a 1999 beginning physics course. The information was still, obviously relevant and correct, however it was a bit interesting to watch a recording of a 14year old class. During the class, the professor had shown an instructional video, that the MIT open source classes did not show because they had not received permission for. Which brought me back to the question in your article of intellectual property.

Section “5. The rhetoric of online education” and section “5.1-5.34,” though written in early 2002, are the exact same concerns and questions that still face us today with the advent of MOOC’s in 2013. The author make clear that teachers and “scholars”… “ought to initiate a careful analysis of the rhetoric of online education.” Oddly enough, almost 11years later, academia is still in the same place; professors and administrators need to come together and discuss how elearning/on-line courses/MOOC’s are going to effect the future of education, and how they want it to positively effect the future of education. As Clay Skirkey would agree, MOOC’s are the wave of the future because they are the most cost-effective, and with the current economic conditions, students need a less expensive option. And it is behoove the traditional university staff to not at least sit down and have a conversation about MOOC’s and how they might be taught in a way as to assure the highest learning outcomes.

Section “5.2. The use of “learner-centered,” constructivist models of education” summarizes nicely the argument for MOOC’s and online/elearning course by saying that “[students] are at the “center” of the system in the sense that they must take charge of their education in a way that traditional students are not required to.” In the article “MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities: A Roundtable (Part 1) by Ian Bogost, Ray Schroeder, Cathy N. Davidson & Al Filreis” Professor Al Filreis echos the sentiments of student centered learning by describing his style of teaching as, “I don’t lecture in ModPo, any more than I do in any other version of the course. I emphasize [that students do] collective, collaborative close readings.” The description of ‘student centered learning’ circa 2002, has apparently stood the test of time, and is actively being used in MOOC’s today. I wonder though, how could it be a better idea for student to create their own curriculum or direct their own readings? It would seem more prudent to allow a Professor, (with the educational background, knowledge, and expertise) the opportunity direct the class conversations, homework, and readings.

I agree with your conclusion 6.1-6.3, especially “6.1. Ensure academic control of resources and construct strategic alliances.” It would seem the the idea of the ‘open-source’ movement would be the wave of the future. As mentioned, the open-source courseware site Manhattan Virtual Classroom, seems like it would be a great idea, and one that might seem to be similar to MOOC’s. I would agree with the author that the most effective way to approach new technological advances in online education, such as, the latest-and-greatest idea “MOOC’s”, would be a more “holistic approach to education” by offering degrees which consists of mixed courses, both traditional and online, and allowing MOOC’s in there too. As for the future of higher education, I would envision that as long as the college offering MOOC’s (as options to traditional courses) has set up specific and stringent guidelines (that have been discussed and agreed to by the professors’ responsible for teaching the MOOC courses) that would ensure there educational rigor, while maintaining a modicum of similarity between MOOC rubrics and traditional classes of the same subject; then it would seem logical to conclude that MOOC’s might really be the lower cost, more inclusion higher education model for the “elearning” future.

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