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I’ll add notes here as the differences between the online and ‘traditional’ learning experience dawn on me as I do the two in parallel. Actually there’s a third comparison I can make – that of L&D which the other week included something neither of the above formats offer – ‘learning over a good lunch!’
The ‘traditional’ seminar or lecture forces your hand somewhat – you have to be there. Many these days are recorded, though mine will not be. I’m inclined therefore to take either a digital or audio recorder along to record these things. I have, just a couple of times over three years, got behind with the online course as I kept putting it off.
Travel … and the associated cost
It’ll be around four hours door to door once a month. This means getting up at 4.30 am. Not of course something someone in full time tertiary education needs to do. Off peak, unless booked well in advance it’ll cost £74 return … £24 if I stick to exact trains. The last train home was heaving. I could and did ‘work’ the entire journey whereas home is a constant distraction.
Eating on campus
Lunch I may have to take with me as the campus only had premade Spar sandwiches at every outlet. A jacket potato or pasta would have been better.
After lunch I did something I last did in double Geography on a Friday afternoon. I sat at the back, cupped my hands over my eyes as if in deep thought … and fell asleep.
When to put in the hours
Something, however common to many people on any part-time distance learning course is ‘the early morning shift’ – putting in 90 minutes or so before breakfast.
While this and other support services are offered to us on our VLE it was invaluable to to have a person run through it as a presentation in person. This kind of stuff should be given a linear expression … a mini-module for newcomers and as a refresher. All I’ve done, two years after the event, was a webinar.
A journey across the country to visit family. I find my 85 year old father-in-law translating some Polish to complete a voice over for YouTube clip the Warsaw uprising. This his son tells me is recorded onto his Netbook and edited using Audacity.
For the next hour we discuss how leadership might be taught online.
He is 85 today. My wife and celebrate 17 years of marriage. I reflect on knowing the family for 26 years, a younger sister introducing me to her older brother being introduced to the parents and then some years later discovering there was another sister with whom it turns out I developed a soft spot.
After dinner I sit with my sister-in-law’s partner, who lectures/tutors fine art, art history and philosophy. It is well after midnight before we tire. I had thought of pressing the record button on the digital recorded I have with me; tomorrow. I recall that their use of technology so far includes little more than tutorials by mobile phone; which has its conveniences.
He put the kibosh on my thinking regarding the commercialisation of education which I conclude is fine for corporations where you are an employee and the company is the client, but not for the freedom to think what you please, indeed without the scope to innovate how would be progress.
Or something like that.
I suppose had I recorded the lengthy discussion I could at least quote him correctly.
But wouldn’t recording such a discussion have sullied it?