Just finished reading the ACM Ubiquity interview with Robert C. Heterick, Jr. It is always interesting and valuable to receive perspectives from early investigators in an emerging field who continue to ask seminal questions.
Who does online education really benefit?
What is its relationship to traditional forms?
What is the impact of new capabilities and new representations of reality?
Having spent many months in development of a commercial online education platform, I found his comments and observations very useful in both critiquing our work and in placing it in temporal context.
In answer to his last question about the role of ACM and the public, I believe that changes driven by new capabilities need broad understanding and debate. Electronic and paper print are fine for many of us, nonetheless, new forms appear to make the complex accessible and intelligible to many more.
By enriching our understanding and that of the public, the greater the likelihood of successful choices about our shared future.
This article and the wonderful online services provided by ACM contribute to that hope.