Virtual Education affecting the way we learn and teach?

After reviewing plenty information on the theory of technological determinism we can see a concern with the effect of new technologies, such as course management systems in the virtual world. It is obvious that these course management systems are changing the way we learn. The easiest way to comprehend this change can be understood by a simple example. Before course management systems, whether you may be taking an online class or physical class that you must attend at a university the way we would communicate with a professor was going to his office and actually speaking to them. Face to face conversations, non-verbal cues, longer, more meaningful conversations. We have now replaced this with an impersonal email that begins and ends with absolutely no personalization.

This brings me to the topic regarding the effect of these course management systems such as black board on the aspect of teaching and learning. From a personal stand point I have expressed that the value of complete online courses for me is not as great compared to an in class lecture. We must acknowledge that everyone learns differently. Where I may be retaining information much better through a face to face lecture someone else may be retaining information much more effectively though an online lecture or simply reading the chapters. I found an interesting article that shares the five factors that affect online student motivation. The factors include empowerment, usefulness, Success, interest and caring. This struck me in particular way because all these different factors seem to be effortless when a course is taught in person but when it’s taught online clearly it is much more of a task to achieve these goals.


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