Friday, March 6, 2009

Globalisation: the tragic advent of online classrooms

Next in my accidental series of blogs on globalisation... "Webinars"!

Please excuse me if this post is at all sarcastic, but I pretty much think they are right up there with Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, and Titanic. People and Relationships: meant to be together, but torn apart by virtual learning, the ultimate affirmation of estrangement.

I'm a big fan of Facebook, Skype and e-mail. To me, these are tools for maintaining relationships when circumstances keep me apart from people who are dear to me. Even E-harmony and Match.com have their place as tools that bring people together who might not have otherwise met. But the destination is still the human contact.

Not webinars. They have tragically pushed the concept beyond the boundaries of what is healthy. I just spent the last week participating in an on-line course which was, in essence, a justification for keeping people apart. After doing the group assignments for class I now have three new best friends in Pakistan whom I have never met, and for whom there is no motivation to ever meet in person. Because they offered the course in an on-line format, I was given the perfect excuse to sit at home and not talk to another human being for five days straight.

So, the good: I now have friends in Pakistan and was able to soak up knowledge from people in Japan, Switzerland, Ghana, Albania and the U.S. What a privilege!

The bad: Now I never have to talk to another human being again. Never have to travel to meetings, never have to make the effort to sit down with my teacher for a face-to-face conversation. Nope, Globalisation has brought the world so close together that we never have to see each other again.

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