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The Mojo of technical communication and writing as mused by Dr. Lu Kondor

Friday, October 18, 2013

Harvard Business School Launching Online Learning Initiative

Confession, I do read Bloomberg when I get a chance (among the multitude of various blogs, magazines, e-zines etc. you get the picture). So I found the recent article on Harvard Business School Launching Online Learning Initiative very interesting since I teach online. OK - this is a bit off topic for technical communication but it applies to transferring of knowledge in a technical manner. I was excited to read schools like Wharton placing their course curriculum online. In my opinion the future of academics will definitely be in the realm of online education. I think it is essential for many students who can not commute on a daily basis for a variety of reasons to have options. As the article says it won't replace face-to-face education but I think it allows learning to continue for many of us where obligations prevent us from spending extra hours in a car or other form of transportation to get to a campus or those who have a spouse and/or children  need to be able to take care of those obligations.

 The most common negative element I have heard grumbled from colleagues in academia is the lack of communication among professors and students or students in a class room. That has not been my experience with online classes. More contact is made because there is an abundance of technologies and ways to connect with students and teachers. With all the latest technologies, I can't see communication taking a back seat. I should know, I went through a hybrid program for my doctorate and I have taught both online as well as in a classroom.

While some university professors look down on online education and feel it is inferior, I must disagree strongly. Education at any institution is what you make it to be as both a student and a teacher. Understanding the difficulties people have in leaving their comfort zone of the way education has been taught in the past, I struggle dealing with many who would rather bash new methods of teaching than research finer details first. The thing that is important is we must all keep an open mind. There was a point in time where women were not allowed in most Universities because of their gender and that change was hard fought and won, yet the university systems didn't fail because of change. Online education is here to stay as a change as well.  I hope that in the future technology can be embraced as just another learning tool in the tool box professors use to teach with.

Bloomberg article Harvard Business School Launching Online Learning Initiative

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