Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kolowich and Monke #edcmooc

Here is my response to the Kolowich article, followed by a brief comment on the Monke article.

Kolowich, S (2010) The Human Element. Inside Higher Ed

Kolowich believes that the addition of video to an online course can add the human touch and therefore improve retention rates.  Is he right? What aspect of the human if any, can help alleviate the distance in Distance Education. I think one thing to consider is whether the communication by video is synchronous or asynchronous.  Synchronous communication with an expert or fellow learner gives immediate feedback to a question or response to an idea, but is video any better than text live chat.  Video certainly is a closer imitator of the face to face experience.  However, text is often more considered and succinct. With regard to asynchronous communication there may be some who prefer watching a video of the lecturer reading his study notes while sat at a desk, rather than reading themselves online. Having spent 4 years studying a degree online, I did not have a yearning to see or hear my tutors, but I did find that I appreciated a quick response from a tutor on a forum or a comment on a wiki post.  It may depend on your learning style. Personally, I am happy having the tutor guiding us as to what we should read and them posting some pertinent questions for our response.  Pretty much as we are doing here. Again I believe, the issue here is fear of change. Fear by some lecturers that they are losing control over the learning, their response to this is to take the new medium and try and make it as similar as possible to the old.

Monke, L (2004) The Human Touch, EducationNext

Monke questions the use of technology in Education. He believes that "Technology education should be driven by 'human values' not by the prerogatives of the technology". It is a rewording of "technology should follow pedagogy"  Which I believe, as I'm sure most educators do is correct. There may be occasions when it seems that the technology is the driving force behind a curriculum, but often this follows the initial implementation of the technology and it eventually settles and the pedagogy once more takes ascendance.

In this article Monke, to my mind, seems to have decided it is either one thing or the other, technological or the human/natural way. Surely the ideal is to combine the two. 

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