After reading “Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning and Engagement by Dave Cormier and George Siemens as well as “New Media Technologies and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” from the January 2009 issue of The Academic Commons Magazine many thoughts came to mind.

The creation of open courses on the web and other forms of online education are bringing about many questions into the education arena.  How will this impact higher education?  Is online better than traditional courses or vice versa?  There are certainly many considerations to be made as society enters a digital era.  How does online impact educators, students, society as a whole?  For students there are ups and downs…some students might be more inclined to participate in and impersonal electronic design where others might not participate as much given the option of not reading all of the posts.  Online allows for students to pace themselves as they need versus in a classroom setting where all of the students must wait until everyone understands the subject matter.  On the other hand, students lose the interpersonal experience with online classes.  A broader question being is this the beginning of a transition to a society that only interacts with others virtually instead of face to face?  What would that mean?  It might be a plus for the environment, but what happens to psychosocial development and the economy.  With open courses many professors could become unemployed as far fewer professors would be needed for instruction.  In addition, secondary teachers could find themselves out of work if more parents chose home schooling over public or private education with the availability of instruction from the best of every area of study online.