[iDC] Why do we need physical campuses?
jdrew at ucdavis.edu
Thu Jun 10 19:50:54 UTC 2010
Though it is older, anecdotal and autobiographical, here is something I wrote about "distanced" education in the journal Processed World. I still think it is relevant and so I'm sharing it here for my "two cents."
On Jun 10, 2010, at 7:59 AM, Andreas Schiffler wrote:
> I guess there is more to a physical learning environment than just a "perceived value": it is the real value of practical hands-on learning and the subtleties of person-to-person communications that go with it - the practical and sensorial learning which is hard to replicate in distance learning or VR. I believe that these traits inherent in physical learning environments are often treated as secondary when they should be an area of primary investment.
> Such grandfathering may be due to a deliberate focus today on a preparation for the "information processing age" or it may be a financial or other resource constraints that limits the scalability of physical learning spaces. I think "online" should not be treated as a substitute but rather as an augmentation to supplement physical spaces to extend their reach in time and space.
> On 6/9/10 1:18 PM, George Siemens wrote:
>> Stian wrote:
>> There are many ways to provide cross-border education and training, and distance education is one, where the institution never leaves its country, and the student stays at home. There are interesting providers, for example the Indira Gandhi National Open University in India, arguably the largest university in the world (more than 2 million students) has study centres in 34 countries, often countries in the Middle East and Africa with large Indian populations!
>> Online learning makes sense for all kinds fo reasons: financial, equity/access, scalability, etc. But...online (distance) learning is still the unloved stepchild of education. Is the resistance cultural? Or related to the perceived value of learning in physical spaces?
>> ICT has progressed enough over the last decade that I think we can largely do away with the physical space of universities. Open Universities have greatly impacted developing countries and the intellectually curious in remote parts of the world (as is commonly cited, Nelson Mandela studied via distance). If a government's goal, and the spirit of a society, is to promote equity and broad access to learning, the online learning should be an area of primary investment.
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Jesse Drew, Ph.D.
Director, Technocultural Studies
University of California at Davis
Art Building, Room 316
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
jdrew at ucdavis.edu
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