Friday, July 2, 2010

Language is Power

Lately, I've been contemplating the words that are generally used within higher education to describe learning environments.  I wonder how differently online learning would be valued if we replaced the terms distance learning and face-to-face learning with online learning and offline learning.

What do you think?

5 comments:

Maryanne said...

I think that you have a just demonstrated the power of words!

Michael Berman said...

If a class is in a classroom but they are online, what would you call that?

Michelle Pacansky-Brock said...

Hi Maryanne, thanks for stopping by! Michael, honestly, I think we need to get away from the need to label learning methods all together. If it's effective learning, that's all that matters. But I am really sensing the terms "distance learning" and "face to face learning" perpetuate a hierarchy that, to me, is problematic. What do YOU think? Good to hear from you.
-Michelle

Hollis said...

Lots of people assume that "in-person" learning is automatically excellent, engaged, careful instruction with motivated students, and I think "face-to-face learning" perpetuates the belief. Surely none of us ever slept through a class, or skipped one, or had a professor who spent the whole class writing on a blackboard.

Maybe "face-to-face learning" should be broadened into "face-to-back learning", or "face-to-whoever-shows-up-that-day learning"? Just kidding.

I agree with you that effective learning can be done in any medium. I keep trying to think of new terminology that fits with the true importance of distance learning. But it all feels made-up. Like "mind-to-mind" instead of "face-to-face", or "equal opportunity learning", or something. It's a good discussion to have.

degree university chicago said...

It sounds interesting. Replacing the words is not a bad idea at all. Sometimes, online learning and distance learning are kind of confusing but I definitely agree with you that language is power.