Academic journal article Journal of Distance Education (Online)

Thirty Years Later: Reflection on Computer Assisted Learning or Communications for Instructional Technology in Distance Education

Academic journal article Journal of Distance Education (Online)

Thirty Years Later: Reflection on Computer Assisted Learning or Communications for Instructional Technology in Distance Education

Article excerpt

To celebrate the International Journal of E-learning and Distance Education's 30th anniversary, we thought it would be a great idea to ask a well-known researcher who provided an article for to the inaugural edition of the Journal, to reflect on his contribution from 1986. Tony Bates authored the paper, Computer Assisted Learning or Communications: Which Way for Information Technology in Distance Education? We asked him what has changed and what remains the same. His answers are the essence of Tony's views on learning and teaching. Tony is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He is an active member of the online and distance learning community and Canada and internationally. Tony's blog is a go-to resource for instructional developers, both new and longtime practitioners. His recent open textbook, Teaching in a digital age, is available in multiple formats from the BCcampus open digital repository. The open textbook demonstrates the wealth of knowledge and experience that Tony brings to our community, as well as his generous spirit of engagement with educational technology practitioners.

What follows is Tony's reflection ...

Tony Bates

Distinguished Visiting Professor

The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

The whole world of educational technology has undergone massive changes over the last 30 years: the Internet, the World Wide Web, social media, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), connectivism, Artificial Intelligence, open educational resources, learning analytics and on and on. Surely anything written then will be completely irrelevant today?

Well, guess what? Here's what I wrote in that famous first edition of the Journal:

Computers can be used in distance education in quite distinct ways.. One approach is to consider the computer as a black box which by and large replaces the traditional teacher.

[Another] scenario.is to consider the computer merely as a channel of communication between learners and teachers. …

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