Tuesday, 15 September 2009

In a nutshell, what technology has really helped students?

I've just written this in an email:
Personally I think that of all the advances that computer and communications technology has delivered over the past 10 or 20 years - CAL, online delivery of materials, access to additional resources, production methods, eTMAs - it is online forums that have probably delivered the most benefits to [OU] students.
It suited my argument to make this claim, but I think it's true. In a nutshell, what has really made a difference to our students is the ability to talk with each other and, to a lesser extent, tutors and lecturers.


Allan Jones said...

'tutors and ALs'? Should that be 'tutors and lecturrs', or maybe 'Als and lecturers'?

I assume we accept that print has actually been the most helpful, and are looking for the next one after that?

David Chapman said...

Yes, should be 'and lecturers', thanks. I've changed it. (Though there is an interesting issue with editing blog posts because they keep their original date.)

Yes, I was meaning 'new' technologies that have come in the last 10 or 20 years.

What do you think? I'm not denying that there's some excellent interactive teaching material, and access to external resources is also very valuable. Just in terms of some abstract 'greatest benefit to the greatest number of students', I think - no hard evidence - that the ability to go to a conference, ask questions, engage in discussion, and see what other people have been saying, is the most valuable.