I love online teaching, which I believe not only promotes learner autonomy but also helps institutions to fulfill their access mission. Gordon Brown argues in a recent opinion piece that online technology also can be a key tool to allow people in conflict zones to receive education. Of course, this argument presupposes many things, such as participants’ access not only to technology, but even to electricity. It also perhaps assumes that it’s possible to take valuable but small projects and to scale them. Still, at a time when Middle Eastern governments are struggling to offer education to a huge population of Syrian refugees, Brown’s argument is intriguing.
Update: a student in my Digital Globalization recently read this article. They thought that it was hard to believe that there would wifi in the refugee camps, or that migrants would have ready access to mobile phones or tablets. They also thought that most refugees would have more pressing needs, such as access to food. In sum, there are reasons to be skeptical about this idea, until it can be demonstrated at some scale.
Shawn Smallman, 2016