Does communication technology actually encourage fruitful student/faculty contact?

image credit - wikicommons

Although the technologies increase the quantity of some types of contact, I am not convinced that they increase the quality of the contacts. Comments made in my previous blog spoke to the weight of non-verbal communication and even adding some visual aspects to the technologies do not address other sensory inputs that are essential to increasing the clarity and richness of student/ teacher communication. I believe we are driving down a dark curvy road at night with our lights out. Are we rushing to use these techniques without adequate testing of their effectiveness?

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9 Comments

Filed under Durse, Online Education, Pedagogy

9 responses to “Does communication technology actually encourage fruitful student/faculty contact?

  1. bwatwood

    “Are we rushing to use these techniques without adequate testing of their effectiveness?”

    Great question – what does the research say?

  2. I think we use these techniques to test their effectiveness. How do you want test something without trying it out. It is not a kind of treatment strategy that we need to test it in non-human beings in the first place.

  3. Are we rushing to use these techniques without adequate testing of their effectiveness?

    On some level there isn’t a choice. Leaving aside harsh economic conditions necessitating the community college as a growth industry, the reality is that students are more wired than ever before. Even students who under other circumstances wouldn’t have access to the technology, smart phones are leveling that playing field. Twitter is a great example of that. The class advantages, which often dictate who has access to new technology are mitigated by phones that can do as much as many computers. Thus many students are mobile, wired in and engaged to a degree, which makes it virtually impossible to return to more analog forms or education. To be sure there are challenges with student engagement if only one form – digital rather than analog – is used, but until there is a solid model balancing both, students are going to privilege digital over analog, which means on some levels the education model as we once knew it – educator dictating learning models from the top – is probably a dinosaur fixing to walk into a big old ice age.

  4. Students do need quantity of contacts (for example, hearing from professors with questions they have to keep moving onto their projects) that technology can help. However, as durse says things I remember as a undergraduate student is not about the communication I had with my professors by e-mail but the real face to face conversation and sharing good and bad times at the same time in the same place. However, if I could not even get in touch with the professors because they never answered the phone or reply my messages, then quantity of contacts connects to quality of contacts in that way.

  5. This is an excellent observation. The concern that I have, is with the large classes and other time demands of the job, how a professor carve out time for those important face-to-face meeting and responsive emails.

  6. I agree Snarky. But are the students being socialized to used theses devices only for “fun and games” rather than for as an educational tool? Will they ” unplug” when the teaching starts? Do we as educators really know what we are playing with?

  7. But what if we are way off? We can’t have a “do over” for a failed grand experiment.

  8. Pingback: techne » Blog Archive » No guarantees… - Just another blog about education, technology and learning

  9. This is along the lines of my thinking. I just don’t want us to abandon what we know can be effective, for quick and easy. I think we are allowing ourselves to be pushed by the ” pay-to-play” programs and leaving behind valuable tools. I think we can use what we know and add the technologies . Let’ make them play our game (pay-to play folks), instead of playing theirs.

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