Is online education good for learning?

Is online education good for learning? Nearly twenty five years ago, this was a relevant and pressing question for the education sector, universities in particular. Back then I was working at Monash University under the grand title of Associate Professor in Flexible Learning (flexible learning being the popular catchphrase at the time). I’d been working closely with my friend and colleague Len Webster at the time, and we’d been heavily involved in the development of online learning, going so far as designing and developing our own software (InterLearn) for the presentation of our post-graduate flexible learning course for academic staff. Continue reading

Guest post*: Changing Times, Changing Face of Education

Education evolves continually, responding to changes in society and advances in our understanding of how learning unfolds.  Technology itself plays a major role in the way we access and absorb information, so advances open new doors for educators striving to reach students in ways they relate to.  This has never been more pronounced than what we see in the current digital age, where the shift from pencils and blackboards increasingly sees educators learning on keyboards, computer screens and other emerging education technology. Continue reading

Sebastian Thrun has had a word with himself

Sixteen months ago I wrote an intemperate post about Sebastian Thrun (‘Someone please have a word with Sebastian Thrun!‘), galvanised by his seemingly breathtaking ignorance of the research literature concerning online learning. Had he acquainted himself with such literature, or had a word with someone familiar with ODL and online learning (e.g. any of the names on the links list at the right), he could have saved himself a couple of years in coming to the position he now apparently holds. This position is at serious odds with some of the outlandish claims he and others previously made concerning MOOCs. Continue reading

Guest post*: If Net neutrality didn’t exist: science impeded

In 2007, Comcast (prominent US ‘provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services’) began experiments on restricting access to certain programs and websites without public knowledge. This could have been a precursor to a commercialized Internet, by allowing Internet service providers to determine what websites were available to consumers. It might have led to additional charges being incurred for what they deemed as ‘premium’ sites. Continue reading

Guest post*: Being educated isn’t enough – how the professional world is revolutionizing education

Be prepared, this is going to be a bit of a rant.

With the rise of MOOCs, administrators and professors are suddenly being pressed into taking sides. “Are you for or against online education?” It’s a question that some administrators (like the University of Virginia’s Teresa Sullivan) are likely to suffer the axe for siding one way or another. Continue reading

Something else I didn’t know

We haven’t always been in the habit of having the newspaper delivered to our home. Not sure if it’s whether we’re just too lousy, or if it’s easier to read the free online version, or for more lofty motives such as avioding responsibility for the destruction of trees to make newspaper (do they still do that, or is it recycled paper?). Continue reading