Nontraditional Students and Information Technology: The Siren Call of the Virtual Classroom and its Impact on Progressive Educational Ideals

Nontraditional Students and Information Technology: The Siren Call of the Virtual Classroom and its Impact on Progressive Educational Ideals

Xenia Coulter (SUNY Empire State College, USA) and Alan Mandell (SUNY Empire State College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-830-7.ch022
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Abstract

The adult college student, caught between the competing demands of work and home, has recently become a valuable commodity in today’s fast-changing American universities. The authors argue that the response of the university to the personal circumstances and credentialing needs of adult learners, accentuated by the forces of globalization and the availability of new information technologies, particularly the Internet, has been to focus upon the efficient delivery of information deemed important in our post-industrial society. This response, particularly well exemplified by the virtual classroom, is not conducive to the fluid and open-ended inquiry associated with progressive education. In the end, the authors speculate, adult students may taste the true progressive and constructivist approaches to learning better outside the confines of formal higher education.

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