Goldberg, A. K., & Riemer, F. J. (2006). All Aboard - Destination Unknown: A Sociological Discussion of Online Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 9 (4), 166-172.


All Aboard - Destination Unknown: A Sociological Discussion of Online Learning

Andra K. Goldberg

Doctoral student, College of Education, Northern Arizona University, USA, Tel: 928 692 3015, akg27@dana.ucc.nau.edu

 

Frances Julia Riemer

College of Education, Northern Arizona University, PO Box 5774, Flagstaff AZ 86011-5774 USA, Tel: 928 523 0352, Frances.Riemer@nau.edu

 

ABSTRACT: This paper is an attempt to describe the emergence and growing popularity of online distance education over the past 30 years through changing sociological lenses. Examining the re-casting of the electronic classroom through the euphoria of techno-positivism, the power-embedded analysis of Critical Theory of Technology (CTT), and the critique of postmodernism, the paper addresses the implications suggested by each theoretical interpretation. Using the metaphor of a high-speed train, we encourage administrators, instructors and technicians to stop and reflect on the destination, rather than simply marvel at the speeds at which we are traveling and the engine that powers our ride.

Keywords: Online classes, Distance education, Techno-utopianism, Critical theory of technology, Postmodernism

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