Academic journal article Journal of Social Sciences

Role of Virtual Education in Higher Education from the View of Existence Philosophy

Academic journal article Journal of Social Sciences

Role of Virtual Education in Higher Education from the View of Existence Philosophy

Article excerpt

Abstract: Problem statement: The problem of present study is to investigate the role and place of virtual education in attainment of educational goals by students which can be deduced from views by prominent existence philosophers. Approach: The research methods used are qualitative content analysis as well as practical syllogism. Results: Regarding the first goal, attending to individuality and students' authenticity, it is explained that virtual education provides many chances for study, job and future life, but reviving, maintaining and developing the traditions and social and authentic culture that is specific to a community are possible through negotiation and social interactions like face to face interaction between teacher and students. Regarding the second goal, passing from nihilism, the conscious and free cooperation of student necessitates creating chances for critically questioning the process of virtual education. To this aim, it is essential to consider virtual education as means and it should not be changed into educational goal or its determinant. Conclusion/Recommendations: In the discussion and conclusion also the implications of the results of the study such as the priority of questioning technological paradigm over questioning the manner of reforms by employing it and taking a holistic view in application of IT instead of a one-dimensional technical view are presented.

Key words: Virtual education, higher education, educational goal, existence philosophies, technical view, philosophical inquiry, information technology


The pervasive and significant role of technology and its latest product, information technology, in different fields of human life including the field of higher education and its wide consequences necessitate intellectual or philosophical inquiry of the nature and origin of information technology and the methods and goals for its application and development. Questions about technology return back to ancient Greek (Hanks, 2009) but by the expansion of new technologies, including information technology, philosophical inquiry of these technologies is also increased (see for example: Kierkegaard, 2010; Jaspers, 2009; Marcel et al., 1980; Marcuse, 2002; Lyotard, 1984). Among these thinkers the role of existence philosophers is more basic and more prominent. Existence philosophy was emerged out of ideas by Nietzsche and was developed by thinkers like Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel and Sartre in the twentieth century. The ideas of these philosophers are not parallel but all of them emphasized on union of thinking with deep and real experiences of human life and existence in reaction to ideas by many philosophers who aimed at passing over precise and individual characteristics and to approach realities beyond time and place.

Based on this ground, the present study aims at investigating the role of virtual education in attaining some of the goals that can be planned for education in higher education by focusing on basic ideas of existence philosophers. It is worth mentioning that investigating this issue in the higher education is more realistic and significant than the educational grades prior to university, because the depth of what existence philosophers state is in a way that may face many difficulties for application to educational grades prior to university.

Regarding the significance of this study, two points could be raised according to the mentioned discussion: first, virtual education is a novel idea for which the consequences and results are not comprehensively considered philosophically. And it is more significant and delicate in comparison to other applications of IT such as industry or economics because the subject is not one aspect of human being, for example economical aspect, but it is human being and his education. Second, existence philosophers have set comprehensive, humane and deep goals for education by highlighting individuality and human existence (Blake, 2003). …

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