Internet Learning LO22937

Arun-Kumar Tripathi (
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 03:11:25 +0200 (MET DST)

Dear Learning Org Lists,

>From eduprise/NEED-TO-KNOW, 20 October 1999

Brave new world and all that aside, some traditional educators are
questioning the quality of education being offered via the online route.
"Education is not reducible to the downloading of information, much less to
the passive and solitary activity of staring at a screen," said the
University of Washington chapter of the American Association of University
Professors in a recent letter to Washington Governor Gary Locke, an
outspoken proponent of digital education. One of the big complaints leveled
at digital ed is the lack of qualified professors in teaching roles. In
many cases, a professor may prepare the coursework, but students interact
online with a less qualified tutor. History professor David Noble, author
of a series of articles titled "Digital Diploma Mills," draws a comparison
to earlier-day correspondence courses of questionable note. "What's
happening with distance education is a repeat, the only difference is
instead of using the post office and the mail, they're using online
delivery." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11 Oct 99)

[Comment from As with any instructional delivery method,
it's possible to produce poor quality.'s planning,
evaluation, and instructional design services help our clients ensure an
effective, high-quality learning experience for students and for instructors.]

"Whereas education has traditionally meant bringing students to sources of
knowledge, the time has come to bring sources of knowledge to students."
That said, author Stephen Barley, co-director of the Center for Work,
Technology and Organization at Stanford University, sets out to determine
how the Internet can best be used -- for which types of courses, in what
settings, and for whom? "Little is known about... the limitations and
opportunities of Web-based courses," he writes. "Surfacing such data is
critical for accurately assessing the potential of distance-based education
and for fostering a community of practice around development." Among other
factors, Barley notes that research is needed to determine how cultural and
socioeconomic differences fit in to the equation, and how successful
existing online educational efforts have been. Without answering these and
other questions, Barley asserts that there's no way to determine if online
teaching strategies are hitting their mark. (The Education Digest, 1 Oct

Arun Tripathi


Arun-Kumar Tripathi <>

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