Social media Takes on ‘Church’ Role in Times of Need

Ekant Veer, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Canterbury, has discovered that social media unexpectedly became the communal meeting place during the quakes  Veer has noted that the people affected increasingly took to social networks for 메이저사이트 help, to provide information and lend support. With the city undergoing such turbulent times – many buildings became unsafe for occupation and transport links were damaged – social sites took on the role traditionally held by the community halls and churches.

The lecturer, who has revealed his findings in the lead-up to the Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference, monitored a variety of social networks after the quakes and noted his findings. Overwhelmingly, it was found that people utilised social media for ‘immediate and timely updates’. In addition to providing practical information, such as where to find fresh water and food, social media was important in supporting those who were badly affected and created a great sense of community.

Some significant players during the quakes included Geonet and Civil Defence who tweeted regular and useful updates. The hashtag #eqnz also came into play, helping boost the informative element that became so significant. News channels, whilst maintaining importance in informing the public as a whole, could not keep up with the instant updates boasted by social media. Subsequently, the quakes have led to heavier use of the platforms and claimed many more users. With the increasing popularity of online education, due to advancing technologies and an increase in funding for universities to offer distance learning, the role of the teacher, instructor, or lecturer in modern higher education is certainly changing. But with a greater input of technology upon a student’s education, is the competency and overall quality of the teacher becoming less important?

In his essay, Distance learning: Promises, Problems, and Possibilities (2002), Doug Valentine describes, ‘instructors and their attitudes towards teaching in a distance-learning environment as a major potential roadblock to effective distance education, ‘ because, ‘the instructor can set the tone for learning in the educational environment. ‘ In response to this, it therefore seems of great importance, aside from having the knowledge to utilize the technology for the delivery of education, that he/she must also be eager and confident by his new means for teaching. Following this idea, The University of Florida also published a paper entitled A Teachers Guide To Distance learning (1995). This essay calls for distance learning technology to ‘be as invisible as possible, ‘ endorsing the notion that it is simply a means or “tool” on offer to aid the delivery of education.

A problem highlighted by Valentine is noticeable here. There are two differing opinions as to what is the exact purpose of distance learning. The first, as stated by Schlosser and Anderson in 1994, is to offer ‘an experience as much like that of traditional, face-to-face instruction as possible. Whilst the second opinion, that of Bates (1995), is that ‘it should be used to improve instruction. ‘ Depending on which of the above is to be adopted by the institution, it seems that the quality, competency, and connection between teacher and student should be of the utmost importance for the former. However, if a better education system is required than that of the traditional form, then the position and actions of the instructor may be quite different. For a distance learning course to be more successful than a traditional learning programme, it seems that the role of the teacher should be more in line with the instruction of the University of Florida.

For example, the UoF highlights four adaptations, the first is to establish ‘effective strategies for implementing small group activities and individual practice. ‘ The second is to hone ‘techniques for maximizing teacher/student and student/student interactions. ‘ The third is to establish ‘successful approaches for integrating technology into the teaching/learning process. And the final method for adaptation is to implement ‘tactics for motivating students at a distance. ‘

The role of the distance learning instructor is no doubt changing in comparison to that of the traditional lecturer. However, where an institution is seen to be implementing the most radical changes and newest technologies, today’s distance learning instructor has as much accountability to his students, and a further responsibility to the future advancement of education in general.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *