Re: Digital Learning Communities

Marcy Bauman (marcyb@UMD.UMICH.EDU)
Mon, 2 Sep 1996 23:32:38 -0400

Nick, thanks for typing in the passage by Kurt Vonnegut. (I swear, Nick
types in so much good stuff for all of us that I think we oughta get
together and buy the guy a scanner.)

I'm with you about the face to face stuff. I'd be very
distraught if I thought I'd never see my cyberbuddies at conferences and
the like; I don't _want_ to give up that contact. I feel differently
about the gas pump, though: most of the time I'm in a big hurry and so
if for some reason I have to stand in line inside the station, I'm

What really disturbs me about the buy-a-course kind of distance
ed, though, isn't the distance. It's the assumptions about teaching and
learning. Seems to me that it's generally true that in order to learn,
learners need to be able to have some control over, and to be able to
manipulate, their environment -- even if all they can do is ask questions
in a lecture. It also seems generally true that in order to teach,
people need to match *what they know* with the learners before them (or
online with them, or whatever), and the situation they're all in. I
think teachers need to construct their own course designs; I surely can't
be the only person who's adopted someone else's syllabus wholesale and
lived to regret it. There are some shortcuts that just don't work, no
matter how tempting they look.


Marcy Bauman
Writing Program
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128

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