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According to one professor, online colleges are not embracing the web 2.0 technology that has made websites such as Facebook and Twitter popular. Ars Technica reports:
"Weller argues that the online communities fostered under the Web 2.0 umbrella perform a largely parallel function, in that they foster groups with common interest and link them to relevant materials. They don't fully replace the university experience, as these communities tend to have experts that are self-appointed, but Weller argues that the parallels between the two can't help but influence the expectations of students that have been raised in a Web 2.0 world.
Those expectations are nowhere close to being met by the education community. Weller notes that the software systems that many universities deploy have strict permissions limits that leave the posting of materials and launching of discussions strictly in the hands of the professors. "Why will they [students] accept standardized, unintuitive, clumsy and out of date tools in formal education they are paying for?" he asks. If the students can't meet their expectations through these systems, the students will just ignore them and start their own Facebook community; Weller paints a picture of university systems with "digital tumbleweed blowing down their forums."
This seemed to hold true in the last online course I took. The students were permitted to post in the message boards, but few chose to participate in this way. Hopefully online colleges will be able to adapt the best aspects of web 2.0 in their future course designs.Did you enjoy this article?