In An Online Learning Environment, Where Does The Learning Take Place

With online learning, students should be shown that the level of course they choose is within the learning goals and setting before them.

In An Online Learning Environment, Where Does The Learning Take Place

Meira Satland is the founder and CEO of Concrete.

When a population is engaged in watching shows like Utopia and The Punisher, programs that reveal to viewers their varying levels of sociopathy and narcissism, many are beginning to wonder where the empathy takes place in the mass media.

From this seemingly superficial location lies the misunderstanding of the role that media plays in society and an uncertainty about the value of educating our youth. With all of the seemingly random occurrences that happen throughout their lives, it is rarely apparent that people’s self-worth is slowly being absorbed by other people’s opinions about them.

Yet, for the vast majority of human life, that is exactly how people have been brought up to perceive things. I have been wrestling with this very problem for as long as I can remember. I was always of the mindset that some type of technology or media was going to impact my life—anything that broke up my solitary existence would take over my life. Therefore, anything that could be used to connect me to other people was a universal resource.

Media has become the largest conduit for connecting and immersing the masses. But how do we combat the tendency for the masses to always view these events—especially tragic ones—through the filter of media? Most of these tragedies receive mass coverage from television and radio which overwhelmingly focus on promoting blame. It is important to remember that these tragedies are not the result of the weak, emotionally oppressed victims, but rather people with the power to repress their actions.

Upon noticing the general lack of empathy shared within our society, I decided to innovate a new way to share knowledge. In the near future, I will be launching Concrete’s Atelier, a bridge that allows people to open a dialogue across space, time, and place, all while receiving education and a deeper understanding of the events.

Atelier is an interactive, socially-driven environment where people exchange knowledge with each other. When the relationship between a person and a student is personal, the student can learn a lot about their new partner’s mood as well as their subconscious processes. Someone with a bipolar diagnosis is only learning that they have this diagnosis from another person, not from their doctors or therapists. Those who experienced abusive behavior in childhood are struggling to understand the mechanisms of love and sex. Atelier, through technology, can connect these people across time, space, and space.

Interestingly, since technology is not a barrier that prevents interaction, it seems like the only limit is time. During this newly-developed age, people are able to touch each other in any way, share ideas, and maybe even help people’s lives. Even with the internet, people still only have the ability to exchange knowledge within minutes. It seems as though contact and physical presence are much more valuable than time in the minds of people. This fresh innovation seems like a good thing for many people, but there are plenty of negatives as well.

New students will likely experience learning in a capacity that is very different from the traditional idea of collegiate education. Many of these relationships could end up depending on the sincerity of the connection, something that cannot be guaranteed within the conceptualized algorithms of modern-day life.

Also, if things end up getting emotionally out of hand, people might start to get the idea that feelings and emotions are lesser than objects that cannot be quantified. And what should these relationships be held in anyways? Real relationships are important to keep in the mind as something that must be acknowledged and accepted.

The tragic incident in Sweden reminded me once again that media has lost some of its role as a social facilitator, as it allows individuals to do more of their own study than it would normally be possible to do. Even if most people stay away from expressing emotions or secrets, people are still compelled to share things in public. These forces are often responsible for the high instances of violence that occur. Social media has given a force to the “feeling” part of human interaction. As a result, this brings a new danger for people: the negative self-worth. The problem is that feeling is a fight, a fight that can leave us defending an emotion that is not ours. To reverse this trend, we have to work to maintain understanding and compassion rather than divide people according to affiliation. It’s time to stop throwing out things that don’t belong to our society.

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