On Online Education and Catholic Social Teaching

Earlier this fall, I attended the annual EDUCAUSE convention in Orlando, Florida. I have written about my experience at the convention as it relates to my ongoing project investigating the relationship between online learning communities and Catholic social teaching as an approach to designing higher education.

As part of my attendance at the convention, I was required to return to my university and present my reflections on the convention along with my two colleagues who also attended.

I recorded that session, for my colleagues who could not attend, and I am making available to all of you an edited version of this recording that focuses on my reflections. This reflection starts with my time at Collegium, which I did an autoethnography on, and goes into how I think we can develop online education that is truthful to the Catholic identity and mission of my university — including the usage of MOOCs and concerns over the digital divide.

As I tweeted during that session, my two big takeaways thus far from this research are as follows:

And then there are the photos from EDUCAUSE that are in my Instagram account  — see if you can spot any focus of discussion on community and relationships.

I am not saying that EDUCAUSE as an organization and all of its members do not care about fostering relationships and community in the classroom. Right now, the money / interest just appears to be more in access, assessment, and security. But if we as educators stress the need to prioritize relationships and community as essential to our students learning, then we will probably see more venders and administrators recognize the importance as well.

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