Readings: The Media Debate



The Media Debate

How does the instructional medium influence instruction? Some say that it doesn’t matter what kind of truck delivers your cans of beans to the grocery store. I suggest that refrigerated trucks allow us to eat seafood in the summer.

This 27 page 2007 article, sums up the debate fairly well. The take-home message is that doing a study that compares delivering the "same" instruction in one medium (e.g., a face-to-face lecture) with another (e.g., a MOOC) is a waste of time. If the instruction really is the same, there will be no difference. If there is a difference, it is because the instruction was different. Instead, design instruction to take advantage of the affordances of the medium. (If you do not know what an affordance is, you should click the link and read the definition on Wikipedia and see also this short piece.

Media Comparison Studies: Problems and Possibilities Warnick, Bryan R.; Burbules, Nicholas C. Teachers College Record, v109 n11 p2483-2510 2007

Further Reading

Though the entirety of this decades-old debate is beyond the scope of interest for many readers, I include it here for those who may be interested. If you are pursuing a PhD, these references might be worth taking note of. I especially like Kozma’s response.