Mid twenties. Bachelor of Internet Science and no future? How can this be one asks? Surely someone with the benefit of a good University education with youth on their side should be looking at a bright and exciting future? Well, maybe, had the University in question not chosen to deliver almost every aspect of the course online – thus removing one of the traditional benefits of Higher education – then this person might have developed some deep and lasting friendships, gained practical hands on experience and planted the seeds of networks – that in time honoured fashion – would be delivering up useful work opportunities. Unfortunately the person I allude to has missed out on the rich life that oncewas the experience of all who attended University.
As a digital native the idea of viewing YouTubed lectures, communicating via email and submitting assignments online is clearly appealing. No need to wait in the rain for buses that never arrive. No bleary eyed. zombie scrawled notes from early morning lectures and above all no need to leave the sanctuary of one’s own room or disrupt the myriad of other attractions of Anime movies and on-line games that would have to wait until later if lectures seminars and tutorials had to be attended. No I won’t blame this student – given the same choice, at the same age I suspect I would have chosen likewise. However, the problem has now come home to roost. With no new friends and no network to ‘mine’ the employment opportunities are few and far between. How many other young women and men are finding themselves in the self same predicament? Have we as educators unleashed a genie from the bottle? Much is written about the benefits of a holistic education and the benefits of eLearning and digital cultures. Are we not in danger of missing the point – that eLearning is merely an adjunctto learning and must be bolstered with other adjuncts – learning is not just about access to a mass of multi modal, multimedia information and data, it is about far more than that and right now we would seem to be failing…abysmally.