Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Module 2 EDUC 8842: Principles of Distance Education

Module 2 Post: Elements of Distance Education Diffusion

Dr. Siemens in his video presentation stated that there is a growing acceptance of distance education in today’s corporate and educational spheres (Laureate Education, 2008). Dr. Siemens added that the reason for this growing acceptance of distance education might be related to people gaining experience in communicating online. I agree with this notion because in the past, people used to think that the only time communication is meaningful is when it occurs face-to-face, however, new efficient technologies is changing peoples’ perspectives on this issue.
The Evolution of Global Diversity
Historians and economists believe that the success of the US in a global economy is linked to 227 years of success in diversity (Belcher, 2003).  Essentially, any country that embraces diversity is using a proven plan for succeeding in a global economy. One hundred and forty years ago, President Lincoln pushed for the United States to reiterate its commitment to diversity of which government policies focused on immigrants receiving an education and thus, allowing them to move up from poverty to the middle class (Belcher, 2003). Global diversity evolved as new technologies arose, allowing corporations and schools to have an increase in a diverse body of employees and students. A decade ago no one could imagine having high quality video streaming between individuals at different locations while today streaming videos are almost seamless. The constant influx of new technologies brings endless opportunities to improve online communication, teaching and learning from a distance which includes a diverse student body. Corporations benefit from distance education, allowing interaction between different offices worldwide (Laureate Education, 2008). In other words, distance education promotes learning and how to interact in virtual distributed teams. There is also an increase in contribution from experts within numerous fields worldwide.
Todays Online Tools
Online tools are in abundance today, facilitating interactions between learners in schools and the corporate world. Instant message applications can take various forms, for example, a person’s email may include a “chat” area or Skype can be used for the same purpose. Virtual bookmarks can be shared among learners who are using digital books, for example, Delicious or Diigo. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Friendster, LinkedIn and MySpace allow peers to post photos, videos, and comments as a means of connecting and networking with others online. Ning, as a social networking site, might very well become the next generation of such sites in the sense that it goes beyond what FaceBook allows users to do, moreover, network security is higher. In terms of working in teams professionally, Google does offer useful free tools such as Google Docs and Google groups. As for Video and Podcasting, a learner may choose from either: youtube.com; video.yahoo.com; video.google.com; teacherspodcast.org. Such free Internet sites allow users to upload video and audio files for free and allow access to anyone worldwide, as long as they have a computer and Internet connection.
Other Bloggers Point of View
Julie Mastrine of Penn State University mentioned on her blog that a diverse workplace is important to both creativity and productivity and is often overlooked by employers and hiring managers.  Mastrine explained that diversity is important because it improves the bottom line of a company and help bring together ideas from cultures all over the world, along with new attitudes and perspectives that can help a company be truly competitive. For details see: http://comerecommended.com/2013/01/the-importance-of-diversity-in-your-workplace/ .
I agree with this notion regarding importance of diversity within the corporate world. I also believe this applies to education, since our aim is to improve learning by reaching out to a diverse student body.
             Contrary to this notion, blogger, Zealot144 of Yahoo answers believe that from a global scale, diversity can be seen as a serious challenge whereby wars have been fought.  Zealot144 Explained that Middle Eastern Muslim cultures embrace the Sharia law, which authorizes marriage to three year old girls, sexual contact at six, and intercourse at eight, while western cultures put emphasis on consent and perceives the aforementioned as child molestation. Zealot144 also mentioned that currently, the Western trend is towards acceptance and tolerance of diversity, in an effort to promote global peace while Middle Eastern current trend is toward domination and the spread of the Sharia law. Zealot144 ended by emphasizing that in order to succeed on a global scale, diversity must be understood, assimilated, and accepted. For details see: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091003200719AAQ4sWx .
Zealot144 seems to have a negative attitude toward global diversity. Yes, when communicating on a global scale, cultural diversity must be understood, however, judgment should not be placed on other cultures due to dissimilar viewpoints.  Disparagement or judgment should not be placed on students from various parts of the world who meet and interact with each other and their teachers to gain new knowledge and skills.  The same goes for the corporate environment. One of Walden University’s learning outcomes is that students will become supportive of diversity and multiculturalism within their professions, communities, and society. This makes perfect sense, especially since distance education (which entails much global interaction) will continue to grow in popularity and become more and more accepted worldwide than in the past.

References
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Distance Education: The Future of Distance Education [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Mastrine. J. (2013). The importance of diversity in your workplace. Retrieved from http://comerecommended.com/2013/01/the-importance-of-diversity-in-your-workplace/
Belcher, O. F. (2003). Why diversity matters in a global economy. Cost Engineering, 45(11), 3-4. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220451361?accountid=14872

Yahoo Answers. (2013). What is global diversity? Retrieved from. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091003200719AAQ4sWx

6 comments:

  1. Hello Ena,

    Once again, you have went above and beyond on your blog. I was curious about the social network media you mentioned, ning, so I had to check it out. I have always questioned and still wonder why anyone would create the same type of social network and then charge people to use it? There are so many free social networks, why would someone want to pay to use one? What are your thoughts on this?

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  2. Hi Theresa!

    The reason someone might want to pay for a social networking site such as Ning, is simply control. Ning allows users to create the theme and design the look and feel of the site. Users control who can join. Users basically have ownership. Ning has much potential for teachers and learners who embrace social networking.

    For detail information, see: http://www.ning.com/about-us/

    Ena.

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  3. Hi Ena,
    I do not think that Ning has a future with its upfront price tag. There are more YouTube viewers per month than Netflix and Hulu Plus combined. The largest contributor to such a difference, in my opinion, is the price tag. Facebook and Twitter are free, and I suspect they have more users than Ning. However, being free does not always result in having a larger amount of users, but it does apply for the current situation in social media. For instance, Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office have higher number of users when compared to their competition (e.g. Linux, Mac OS, Open Office) because they are known to be reliable products and people are familiar with them.
    Sanjay Sharma

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  4. Hi Sanjay,

    Note though that many individuals would rather pay for software if they believe that it is more secure than the free ones out there. For example, norton antivirus versus free avg. We have to consider pro-innovation bias here :-)

    Ena.

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  5. Hi Ena,

    I have a comment about how you pointed out that people believed face to face communication was the best, but now people are learning more about online communication. I personally prefer online communication and its advantages (no restriction of time, I can type 110 words per minute so it's actually faster for me, I can reach people all over the world for free), but I have read a number of studies that says that on-line communication is creating barriers between people in regards to having genuine relationships and friendships with these people. Do you find that to be true?

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  6. Hi Reggie,

    I am not endorsing any particular educational delivery method. I see them as all important, since our goal is to reach out to a diverse student body. Nonetheless, to answer your question, while online learning might create barriers for some learners, for others, this method gets rid of many obstacles, for example, gender bias, racial issues, age and etc. I dislike clich├ęs, but this one comes to mind here: what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander :-)

    Ena

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