Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I'm sympathetic with the objectives of this post though I am a bit critical of the execution. Richard Fullylove takes not of something I'm sure many other people in the field observed: how we suddenly adopted new terms (like 'remote learning') at the onset of the pandemic. His suggestion is that the word choice is influenced by the connotation, with 'remote' being defined, for example, as "having very little connection with or relationship to... unlikely to occur. aloof and unfriendly in manner." But he pushes it a bit, using a definition more reflective of 'distant' ("the condition of being far off; remoteness, a far-off point, the more remote part of what is visible or discernible") than 'distance'. My explanation for the new terms is more straightforward. It has nothing to do with connotation, and everything to do with point of view. Learning, from the point of view of the teacher, is now remote, and not local or immediate. And it has to do with who is defining the terms - and, in the case of the pandemic, teachers who really had no real experience with things like 'distance education' or 'online learning'. My advice: don't read too much into the words. Language is fluid, and the words change all the time.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Apr 07, 2021 4:40 p.m.