11th century Bologna
We've had a thousand years of learning based on being somewhere. Location mattered for the teachers (Masters) and the libraries.
21st century Cyberspace
We've had a decade of learning that still relies on community, but we can be anywhere (within reason) we like. Broadband Internet access matters. We are guided through the resources by a mixture of people and artifacts. A good deal of it is a pot-lunch at best, with people bringing something to the table, a smorgasbord at least, where we help ourselves.
One part of the community has not changed one jot - like minds gathered to talk, whether like this, through our finger-tips and a keyboard, but best of all in a live synchronous meeting.
These should be made compulsory.
No everything can be what we want, when we do or don't want it. We have to submit papers, We have deadlines. Why not this? Better still bring in the online viva - I've had one twice, the Job Interview across the Atlantic via Skype.
Have things changed that much?
Our minds are the same? Our desire for compassion, to be heard, to contribute, to be recognised even rewarded. We crave friendships, we make mistakes, we learn or don't learn from these, many of us marry and raise kids and grow old, have ideas, good and bed, published or not.
Life will go on, with or without the e-learning?
Will it be a better life?
I suspect not, just different.
Where is all the Leisure Time we were promised in the 1970s.
We have become slaves to the technology, being measured and observed as we tap out our lives, and machine-like we could be judged on how many words, and where these words appear and how often and who often reads them, measured in click-throughs, and page views and other site analytics.
A decade ago I envisaged my then infant children studying six A'Levels then two degress - simultaneously. To differentiate yourself maybe this becomes necessary and possible.
I've come across people hear studying TWO degrees simultaneously.
Perhaps this cross-fertilization will generate new ideas - or ware us down by the need to compete.
The BBC offer references. Not only can you listen and take notes, and listen again, but you can then follow it up with further reading. I liken this to a wrap. The main meal comes from the OU canteen every day.