Learning and Liberal Education
John Ottenhoff, published in LiberalArtsOnline, from
the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash
In his article, English Professor
John Ottenhoff writes about possible positive benefits
the distance education revolution has had on the liberal
arts. Most obviously, he writes, the phenomenon has
thrown into sharp relief the virtues of a liberal education--such
as reflection, integration, and connection of knowledge--contrasted
with the "edu-tech forklift" of content delivery.
But Ottenhoff also believes
that the distance-learning buzz "ha[s] clarified educational
priorities" and "has prompted a more sincere and far-reaching
discussion of how students learn more than anything
else [has] in the past several decades." The openness
technology has afforded the academy--such as online
syllabuses and content--can only help promote the liberal
education ideals of inquiry and collaboration, he argues.
"If liberal arts education aims to integrate and connect,
we should seriously explore how the superb linking capacity
of the Web might foster our aims," he says.
The emerging technologies
have forced liberal arts colleges to think harder about
the promise of a well-rounded student--after all, the
Web may give student "consumers" "shallow pools of knowledge
about an infinite set of subjects online," but it's
up to the college to show how precepts of liberal education
are needed to take students further beyond this scattered
research to attain wisdom and a depth of understanding
of these subjects, and make students "more than consumers
To access the entire
article, visit www.liberalarts.wabash.edu/liberalartsonline/archives/technolibed.html.
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