By Gerson Moreno-Riano, October 21, 2008 in Uncategorized
The entire issue of online education and delivery formats raises the important question of the type of reading that goes on in our universities. What are the general characteristics of good reading habits? What type of reading have ICTs and online education fostered?
Obviously, there are various types of materials, courses, and information that perhaps demand different types of reading styles and practices. And here, I would like to gauge from our LASC CDT participants what different styles and practices may exist. One that seems to me to be an important part is that of close and reflective reading. Good reading demands the time and patience for the reader to enter into the conversation/argument of any material. A close reading and sympathetic interpretation of any text requires time, patience, and reflection.
I am wondering if this is possible in online delivery systems that require efficient presentation of material, scheduling flexibility, and that are predisposed to reading efficiently and not necessarily patiently. In other words, it seems to me that reading in today's digital environment leads students (and perhaps many of us faculty) to skim material rather than read closely. The information overload is so great that we resort to skimming material rather than reading carefully and deliberately. This may also have affected our attention spans- we want fast delivery and fast understanding whereas a liberal arts education or education in general are built on the assumption of careful, slow, patient, and deliberate reading, thought, and work.
Has the digital world made our students and perhaps ourselves more illiterate and less able to really read? Your thoughts? Are we all victims of information overload? How can we combat this among our students, our curricula, and ourselves?