Why online programmes fail…

by Amy Woodgate

… precisely as a result of thought in terms of conversion (from f2f to digital).

So often we see new opinion pieces claiming the old and all too frequently looking out of context. Sure, if the world of online education were to grow entirely out of the premise that all human contact in education could and should be deleted then yet we should consider ways of digitalising the Undergraduate experience of meeting people and building communities.

However, communities do build already online and the idea of this being contrived goes against the notion of community – it bubbles up organically as per the needs of those within it. If it happens on twitter, great – if it doesn’t, not an issue.

As an ODL student, I both simultaneously have and do not want what this article says I need: coming in as a postgraduate, we all enter the course with the interdisciplinary discussion potential of the University campus catering hall – we all have different backgrounds, different experience bases, different lenses through which to view the course content, providing each student with richness and diversity within the peer group; but I am also a postgraduate student, studying online, balancing other existing commitments – if this bourgeois discussion ground happens, it is often ad hoc and by chance at best. I do not have the time or inclination to talk to anyone on a different programme to my own – why would I? Sure, it might be a novelty initially, but sadly I do not feel I can justify hovering in a contrived online community space to bring together a greater sense of belonging… I feel I belong just fine!