Against Technological Determinism —
learning objects and blended learning in Higher Arts Education
Eduardo Morais (2014)
Digital media technologies have brought about far-reaching consequences, often yet unknown or open for debate, to many institutions and society as a whole. Specific media and technologies may lead to wholly different sets of effects, while those technologies are in turn shaped, often in unintended ways, by their creators’ ideologies and biases. Thus, active participation in technological development is deemed a democratic exercise. In the field of Higher Education, however, the disruptive potential of technology is often discussed along lines that fail to appreciate the agency of educators and that there may be a multitude of possibilities outside the massive open online course (MOOC) mould set by promoters of a techno-deterministic discourse. Leadership in this development of alternative forms of mediated education would be expected of Arts educators; however, many in the field tend to consider it as shielded from disruption, even as Higher Arts Education is eroded under their feet by policies that favour ‘creative’ programs aimed at immediate technical fluency and at a naïve short-term notion of ‘employability’. Rather than risking irrelevance by passively becoming clients to the centralized technological industries, Arts educators are called maintain their vital central role through the active and critical development of their educational resources – thus producing learning objects that enable blended learning methodologies, creating a positive alliance of face-to-face to mediated education.