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(Long) distance learning

December 8, 2009

Although I missed out on posting my thoughts about Distance Learning Week, I would like to take a moment to talk about a recent assignment I completed in my IST 618 (Information Policy) class. We had to participate in a group discussion panel on an assigned policy issue. We were assigned our issue and our group, and we had to hold our discussion in a designated “meeting room”.

My group had to discuss corporate freedom of expression, and the research and discussion was very interesting. Ralph Nader, John McCain, Theodore Olsen, the Cato Institute, and the Federal Election Commission were all represented by group members, and the discussion that followed was both informative and lively.

As great as the discussion was, though, by far the best part of the assignment was seeing and speaking in real time with my fellow group members. The title of my post refers to the geographical diversity of our group: one group member is in Singapore, one in the Carolinas, one in Pennsylvania, and the rest of us in various locations in New York. Despite a few technical glitches, it was really like carrying on a conversation in a classroom environment. No matter how good the discussion gets on a course discussion board, this experience by far exceeds that interaction. (Even my 11 year old son was impressed!)

If you have a similar opportunity to participate in such a learning experience, I highly recommend it! Thanks to Professor Mueller and his grad assistant for facilitating this assignment. Thanks to my fellow group members – it was a great experience working with you all!

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