Re: Beyond these walls...

Nick Carbone (nickc@MARLBORO.EDU)
Sun, 29 Sep 1996 17:50:02 -0400

On Sun, 29 Sep 1996, Steve Krause wrote:

> Albert,
> I think you really summarize well a lot of my own misgivings about this
> latest alternative to the "traditional university" a lot better than I've
> been able to do lately. The folks who tend to be the real movers and
> shakers in this direction of distance learning at most schools tend not to
> be as "happy and go-lucky" as our circus man, Eric

I'm not sure how Eric's call to 'use the net' got taken to mean distance
education is the only alternative to teaching in a college or
university. My decision to find some alternative is based on other
commitments: my wife likes her work, my kids like their school, we're
ideally located between both sets of grandparents (each about two hour
drive away, so visits are frequent without being intrusive) and uncles,
aunts and cousins. Put simply, I don't want to move. Course I live near
Amherst, within driving distance of Springifiled to the south and
Brattleboro, more specifically these days, Marlboro to the north and
there's plenty of places to teach adn write between the two locations.

I also get fatigued trying to comment to much on paper o on screen. When
I read a paper online and comment on it, I take longer than I do by hand,
and take longer than a conference with the student might last, more than
a half hour. It's become more efficient for me to read the paper once
and make talking points and to do a conference than it has to respond
online or even by writing in the paeprs margins. That's not to say I
don't use online stuff, but I find it could for group comments,
discussions, bringing students together than I do for working directly
with a student.

I know technology might change that. But one of the things which has
forestalled soem distance ed. projects is a lack of equipment for people
who are likely users of those projects. *We* can say, all it takes is a
few grand for a computer, modem, and ISP. But if someone is doing it
just for a course, that's a lot money. As much as a course. Netted
people are out there, but many of them probably feel they need more help
with the technology than they do with their writing. Most of teach
captive students in funded labs with handouts and a lab monitor to help
and other such support. I imagine it'd be a differetn trick working with
12 people from aroudn the state who have different equipment, differetn
levels of confidence and ability, different types of Interent acces
providors, different work schedules...

That said, I think some face to face will be inevitably, and
welcome--it'll depend upon our geographies to some degree. It'll also
depend upon what we're selling. But for a lot of reasons, it won't all
be distance and won't all be online.

Nick Carbone, Writing Instructor
Marlboro College
Marlboro, VT 05344