Home > COM530 > The Future of Interactive Media in Higher Education

The Future of Interactive Media in Higher Education

New interactive media technologies are changing higher education. Today’s ‘classroom’ can be anything from one individual’s interaction with an online course from anywhere in the world to a crowd sourced, ‘wiki’ blog written by thousands of students and teachers. With such ubiquitous and inexpensive digital data available to anyone instantly, what is going to happen to the many thousands of ‘brick and mortar’ institutions of higher learning? What is the future role, if any, for all the instructors at these schools? Can and should the ‘humanized’, adaptive computers of the future be our new teachers, the only teachers we will ever need?

This research paper will investigate the current applications of new media as a teaching tool, analyze the primary and secondary sources of the scholarship on the subject and provide arguments for developing foresight about the future.

The old, unresolved topic of challenges in advancing the methods, approaches and areas of concentration in teaching the modern college student is still with us and because of that there is a vast amount of relevant research available. However, the recent impact of new media technologies is quickly changing the nature of this age-old discussion. New, relatively ‘free’ and open sources of data networked right into your own computer severely complicate the once, carefully managed and doled out hierarchy of the academic curricula. This paper will attempt to sort out and synthesize the positive and negative effects that new media bring to the teaching proposition. This will require a review of the modern literature on the philosophies of higher learning in general and more specifically the very recent research and arguments that are focused on the impact of new media. The latter arguments and applications are increasingly prolific and a popular topic for today’s blogs, books, wiki’s and research papers.

Although the future may present a very brave and foreign learning landscape, we are living in at time of full admissions and stable finances for the majority of our brick and mortar colleges and universities. This is the good news for at least this decade of teaching jobs.

However, the virtual thunderstorm of new and interactive media pouncing on us daily needs time to settle, to be edited and tested as possible tools in the classroom. Who’s going to do this? The irony is that the typical instructor has little time for such trial and error and usually not much tolerance for adapting to bold new tools that are way more complex than a chalkboard or even a PowerPoint®. Using wiki’s and podcasts and blogs to teach may be all the rage amongst an elite core of proactive and adaptive teachers but are they being used to really advance learning or to feign empathy with a student population that was born and raised in a digital world? This paper will attempt to address how a blending of new and old tools might be a more tolerable approach that whispers us into the use of digital teaching tools rather than dragging us into the clatter of wikis and yammers and tweets.

In the end, there is a wonderful history of content about mankind’s experience on earth that continues to fascinate scholars and fortify students. Let’s decide to make new, interactive media just another dynamic way for all of us to learn how to follow our bliss.

Categories: COM530
  1. steveearley
    September 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    According to a recent NPR piece, there is value in in-person learning, even if it’s just a placebo effect: http://bit.ly/UMhtU

    • paulrwagner
      September 7, 2009 at 5:53 pm

      Steve – Thanks for this…I will need such ‘experts’ who help me to promote my belief that getting face time at a real place with real scholars has value. It also makes me wonder about the perception of someone who has an online degree versus the more official brick & mortar college degree?

  2. David A. Kennedy
    September 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Paul, saw this article and thought you might be able to use it. It talks about the use of social media in the classroom. It doesn’t reference higher ed, but it may help you.


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