06 August 2012

Zombie Education

Back in the cold days of February I posted here on "Blackboard Zombies and Identity Formation." I suggested there that creation of VLEs (virtual learning environments) was a means of the "system" to turn out unquestioning, unthinking, and complacent cogs in a post-capitalist global economy rather than questioning thinkers who are oriented toward virtue.

For some thoughts about the other side of the classroom you might want to check out Jim Gardner's post at The Faculty Lounge here. "Self-Service Education" considers the phenomenon that new law students don't want F2F (face-to-face) education; they've already been conditioned to believe that education is a process of on-demand information transfer.

Whatever may be the virtues of online education (and there are a few), it will not do what Gardner observes is crucial to the successful practice of law:
It is not possible in the legal profession to attain one’s objectives without the ability to engage and to inspire other human beings face to face.  Lawyers constantly must influence the behavior of others – clients, witnesses, judges, other lawyers, court and law office staff – and often that influence can be exercised best, or even only, in person.  Students who fail to cultivate the necessary skills of in-person engagement will later find themselves unable to obtain their professional goals – not always, perhaps, but certainly sometimes.
Relationships--to God, a spouse, and clients--are key to a meaningful and productive life. Community is crucial. Treating the F2F classroom as just another self-service gas station will contribute to an affirmatively mal-adapted approach to one's professional life.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thoughts here. I do appreciate the insights as I have been a somewhat blind champion for online education. In its defense, some folks pursuing online education do so because their other spheres of life are so full; in other words, they are experiencing plenty of F2F communication albeit in the form of work, church, relationships, community service, etc...perhaps even professional internships.