Ted Nelson at Midterm

“Computers offer us the first real chance to let the human mind grow to its full potential, as it cannot within the stifling and insulting setting of existing school systems. Yet most of the systems for computer-assisted instruction seem to me to be perpetuating and endorsing much that is wrong, even evil, in our present educational system.”

Nelson envisions learning within the school system to be extremely problematic. He believes it has nothing to do with the content however, it has everything to do with the way in which it is presented/taught to students and the way students are evaluated. The material that is taught is not made to seem interesting, students are graded in a condescending environment, students are forced to do work instead of motivated to do it, etc. He feels that incorporating the computer in the equation has not benefited students much because the computers were just added into an already flawed system. Students are still graded and tested on work that is done on the computer, and it is all taught the same way just on a different platform. However, he does believe that there is great potential in CAI if the school system is fixed. He believes that the computer can open doors to the imagination of students because so much information can be taken from it. But this idea has not been realized because it has been restricted by the current school system.

This is how I feel about most online class that I’ve taken at VCU. The material is not presented in an interesting format, in fact it may be even more boring than in a classroom setting because at least then I may feel more engaged since I am around other human beings. On top of that, the communication between me and the professor is always a bit off and I am being graded on work through a computer from a person that hardly knows me or understands the way that I learn. I do not feel that way about this class since there have been many assignments that have encouraged us to communicate with each other and express ourselves. However, I have taken four other online classes that express all of the horrible qualities of Computer-Assisted Instruction. I have been assessed on my knowledge through timed tests on material that I essentially taught to myself due to the fact that my online professor did not teach it to us directly. CAI is just as flawed as Teacher to Student instruction. But as a student, I am responsible for the way I respond to these flaws. I can either choose to do the work or rebel the system.


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