No More Court Storming? What will the Community of Online Education be?
Franklin Street after the National Championship win was crazy!
I will never forget that feeling and I will always get chills thinking about being part of a university during such a major event. Singing along to the fight song I knew I belonged to a great community.
The late nights studying in the undergraduate library, the thrill of an overtime football win on a crisp Saturday afternoon in October, the rewarding feeling of being a part of a club, the parties, the lifelong friends made. This and much more is the community that a university can provide.
This experience is of much value to the average college student. In order for online education to be successful a community of some sort must exist, not only for the memories but also because of the benefit communal interaction will have in the workplace and society.
If education were simply a means of transporting information from one source to another, then higher education would be further integrated with technology than it currently is. That is due to the ease that technology can quickly and cheaply transport information from one source to another. However education has largely not taken this route quite yet and people continue to pay for overpriced degrees at four-year universities. I think this is largely because our basic definition of education is missing a key factor, which is the element of the community.
A society controlled and ran by humans obviously requires successful human interaction to work. Today’s workplace is increasingly stressing the importance of teamwork and successful businesses usually are built on a strong communal foundation.
Most articles outlining what traits employers are looking for when hiring mention team player or ability to work within a team based culture. These articles all stress that one must “work well on a team”, be “team oriented”, and be a “cultural fit”.
With the stress placed on teamwork in the workplace a community driven learning environment would provide a clear benefit as people would have much more experience solving problems together.
Also the integration of communities in education will benefit society, as we will continue to develop and maintain our ability to work together to solve problems. Without communal education society will become even more dependent on technology and the ability of humans to successfully work in teams will disintegrate.
Combining the advantages of technology of cheaply teaching information on a widespread scale with a humanistic element of a community will provide the most beneficial education for future students.
I believe this humanistic element can prevail while exploiting the advantages of the new technology. The question is can it be done to create such a tight knit community that a four year university is able to create? I don’t think any online students will be rushing their college downtown in celebration of a huge win any time soon…so how will their community compete?