E-Learning Democracy and Social Exclusion-Issues of Access and Retention in the UK

Simpson, Ormond (2005). E-Learning Democracy and Social Exclusion-Issues of Access and Retention in the UK. In: Carr-Chelman, Alison, A. ed. Global Perspectives on E-learning: Rhetoric and Reality. California, USA: Sage Publications, pp. 89–100.

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About the book: E-learning is growing around the world, with applications from schools to non-profits to business and industry and, of course, higher education. It has been heralded as the next democratizing force in education for offering access regardless of physical limitations, job status, geography, etc. It has also been challenged as representative of the myth of meritocracy for exacerbating the view that education alone rectifies failures to meet social needs. Further, the financial incentive to privatize education leads many to question its democratic merits. Global Perspectives on E-Learning: Rhetoric and Reality presents several cases of international online education and the rhetoric that surrounds this form of teaching and learning.

Editor Alison A. Carr-Chellman examines the impact of online distance education throughout the world in an effort to understand more deeply the merits of such initiatives. Written from a critical perspective, the book sheds light on some of the problems faced by international distance educators. It particularly focuses on who benefits, and who does not, by the advance of international e-learning and how we can respond to the needs of the disenfranchised. This book is intended to supplement what has to this point been largely a positive, how-to literature in distance education. It offers a balanced perspective on the problems and possibilities of distance education worldwide.

Global Perspectives on E-Learning is perfectly suited as a supplemental text for a variety of graduate-level education courses. Professional educators, policy makers, and anyone interested in international online education should consider this a vital addition to their libraries.

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