Constructing Cultures in DE
ITFORUM Paper 4: "The ideas presented in this paper lead to several conclusions. While culture is usually thought to develop over time without much conscious attention, the rapid growth in use of distance education technologies means that a more rapid and deliberate development of cultures is needed. Because there are multiple cultures in distance education, the strengths and weaknesses of different technologies and the differing purposes of interactions make it impossible for one set of mores to fit all situations. As teachers of teachers and of future teachers, we have the opportunity to help create useful cultures by using distance technologies in the classes we teach. By modeling appropriate conventions and making explicit what those conventions are, we are preparing teachers to create useful cultures with their own students. A teacher who wishes to have a useful, comfortable climate for interaction and learning will do well to remember that all culture is created by group negotiation and not by authority's fiat. Such a teacher will devote learning time to group interaction around issues of culture building, knowing the issues that are at stake but giving participants room to negotiate the conventions that will best accomplish the purposes for which the group is formed."