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What superstorm Sandy taught me about the failures of online learning (+video)

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

When hurricane Sandy closed my campus for a few days, my students and I had to conduct our course online. It was wholly inadequate. Online learning cannot – and should not – replace the real-time dialogue of the in-person classroom.


Thanks to @kevin_corbett for bringing this article to my attention. I have to say, that while I understand this person’s opinion, I don’t happen to agree with it. I think it’s written by someone who doesn’t understand how to use online learning effectively because they are used to a classroom model and that’s what they know best. Having obtained my degree online from a reputable school of technology, I don’t feel in any way that I missed out on those personal moments with my professors or fellow students at all. We were all spread across thousands of miles, in some cases, and yet I felt that the conversations done in forums and email were much more animated and in-depth than many of the classroom courses I took in undergraduate school. There are plenty, as the author points out, that overuse PowerPoint slides and merely do presentations only, when more can be done. The class I just completed was mostly a presentation class, but I felt that considering that my students were literally half a world away from me, we were still able to make that connection and discuss issues effectively.  If one has a classroom course, and it’s switched to being an online course temporarily in the middle, it’s bound to not be the same kind of experience. It’s not meant to be the same experience. Social media and technology help to bridge some gaps that this teacher doesn’t completely understand, and m-learning revolutionaries need to continue to work to get the word out on why it can and does work. 


And that’s my opinion. 


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Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

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