The digital age has brought about new dimensions of connectedness and alienation in the 21st century. New communication technologies and social media have transformed the everyday realities of human relations in many different ways, some positive and perhaps some negative. It is a legitimate question to ask what this is doing to interpersonal relationships and institutions.
One vitally important area of transformation in recent decades is in the area of college education. The traditional brick and mortar classroom is no longer the only option for those seeking a higher education. Online education has been making academic inroads in virtually all demographics, and it is a legitimate question to ask how this is transforming higher education.
Having taught thousands of students in the traditional classroom and in the online classroom, I intend to explore a major difference in the relation of the spoken to the written word. The classic critique of the written word is, of course, found spoken by Socrates in Plato's dialogue Phaedrus (274 ff). Ironically, this critique would not be part of the contemporary philosophical discussion if it had not been written by Plato and read by students of philosophy for the last 2500 years.
Philosophical hermeneutics is the best field to address this new dynamic, and Paul Ricoeur makes a plea for writing and via his dialectic of distanciation and appropriation. I intend to discuss some advantages and disadvantages of the asynchronous, online classroom and offer some reflections on the future of higher education online.
Christopher Myers, American Public University, United States
Stream: Ethics; Religion; Philosophy
This paper is part of the ACERP2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window