Editorial – Expert Advice

Our feature this week is the second part of the interview with Dr. Terry Anderson. The other half of the formative team behind the AU Landing, Dr. Anderson is a strong proponent of social media being used in teaching, and has a piece of advice for all online learners that might help them succeed in their courses.

Honestly, when it comes to social media, I’m still a bit lost by the appeal of the whole thing. I feel no need to share my life experiences or odd bits of time wasting things I’ve found on the net with everybody else. I’m sure they’ve got their own. More over, I really question the idea that we can form webs of knowledge and trust among the general population for the simple reason that most of the general population are not experts?on anything. Let’s be honest, very few of us have enough training, practice, and skill to be truly called experts at something. We might be very good at something within our field, but there’s a reason that doctoral degrees are so rare, and a reason that experts are singled out of the masses.

The sad fact is that in any crowd, the experts are going to be outnumbered. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be the experts anymore, they’d just be part of the crowd. That’s why universities and credentials were created in the first place, so that we could recognize the truly knowledgeable from the rest of us. The idea, as Dr. Anderson puts forward, that connectivism and developing networks moves us toward the future of education is countered, to me, by the idea of the democratic nature of the net. My stupid is simply not worth as much as an expert’s knowledge. But how can you tell who’s an expert and who isn’t over the net? The Dunning-Kruger effect points out that we can’t even self-evaluate very well, so how are we to evaluate others? I guess my fear of this idea of a network centered education is that you simply end up with a very large web of the blind leading the blind. But, as I’ve already pointed out, I’m no expert. And Dr. Anderson is. So maybe I’ve simply got it wrong.

In addition to our feature, however, we also have Barb Lehtiniemi giving us a second look at lynda.com, a sequel, if you will, to her first look that happened over a year ago. (If you’re really interested, check out our archives, you’ll find it in issue 2206). With the three year contract with lynda.com soon coming to an end at AUSU, it remains to be seen what will happen next.

A little more prosaic, Deanna Roney gives us an article about the difficulties of finding sensible women’s footwear for a wedding. Honestly, I wasn’t sure at first if it would be a good fit for The Voice Magazine, but if you think about this issue, you realize that in many ways it very much fits into the themes of how expectations of what is “normal” can make things difficult if you don’t fall into that group and how all of us, as distance education students, are definitely not part of the “normal” of post-secondary students. I still haven’t come to a final conclusion about what we can draw from it, but maybe that’s a good thing. After all, if something can make us think, that’s a good fit for The Voice Magazine.

Plus, don’t forget our selection of reviews and other advice, all just waiting for you.
Enjoy the read!

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