In the July 9, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education Review Robert Zemsky and William F. Massy discuss ($) the promise and pitfalls of e-learning. They write that a “pervading sense of disappointment” now surrounds e-learning because of unfulfilled expectations. Still, they caution that dismissing e-learning is foolish because it’s here to stay and can play an important role in education.
Zemsky and Massy cite three common assumptions that they argue have been proven wrong:
*If we build it, they will come.
*The kids will take to e-learning like ducks to water.
*E-learning will force a change in how we teach.
They say that instead, “faculty members use the electronics to simplify tasks, not to fundamentally change how they teach their subjects” and conclude that,
The technology’s skeptics, emboldened by the fact that, to date, its failures have been much more prominent than its limited successes, will challenge each new product and innovation. Yet despite the difficulties of the recent years, we count ourselves among the optimists who believe electronically mediated instruction can eventually become a standard mode of instruction. E-learning is still alive and kicking. On most campuses, money is being spent, smart classrooms are being built, and faculty members are experimenting with new ways of bringing electronically mediated learning into the classroom. Ultimately, the lure of learning anytime, anywhere will prove irresistible.