Information production is key, but readers’ role matters

In an era where academics, students, professionals, families and citizens are constantly adapting to new emerging technological and communication modes, it is worth reflecting what does this adaptation means and what are the parameters that should be taken into account. Campbell, in his “Networked Learning as Experiential Learning” article published in 2016, establishes the significance of a digitally mediated network of discovery and collaboration in experimental learning. However, despite all the benefits that have been recognized by an existing vast body of literature, Campbell assures that without a clear understanding of the organizations principles behind the digital era, users could be excluding vital information.

The reliability of the used sources, for instance, is a critical component that although it determinates the validity of the used information, is often ignored in the digital world. Since digital anonymity -and the tensions it brings to the table- is not the only dimension that is often avoided in emerging technological and communication modes, it is important to reflect on how does the reliability of information has been validated in the past and why is it that it is easier to avoid it now.

Is it that the current digital revolution has convinced us that what happens behind scenes when information is digitally produced is not worth of our analysis? Or is it that in an attempt to avoid our own commitment -often exhausting- to seek reliable information we have chosen not to? Seems to me, that as far as citizens’ commitment to seek deeper remain a discretionary choice, our current and future understanding of the world will very often be based in unreliable and biased information.


6 Replies to “Information production is key, but readers’ role matters”

  1. The reliability of learning materials is critical during the networked learning. It reminds me that I trusted Wikipedia so much when I used it the first time. I believed that there will be quality control on the material posted. However, when I looked into information in the textbook, I found the opposite answer. Until then, I realized anybody could edit Wikipedia and they’re not always correct.

  2. A blog is a personal voice with inherent biases and gaps in information. Is it very different from the news? Perhaps the advantage lies in the accessibility to quickly refute or debate. I believe a discerning and responsible reader should do so, and a better learning space could be created if different facets of the issue are presented.

  3. Kaisen and Zhanyu ask important questions about the issue you raise (about the reliability of information). I think we definitely need to consider the source of the information or perspective we’re consulting regardless of the medium. We have to stay on top of what’s happening “behind the scenes” (point of view, bias, evidence, motivation, the algorithm, etc.) for all kinds of texts. It’s true that “anyone” can edit wikipedia, but that hive mind quality has also helped Wikipedia become very reliable and high quality in most contexts. The new information ecosystem is rich, but also really challenging to negotiate. Thanks for this!

  4. I agree here. The power of ratings and reviews is what comes to the rescue here. It is right to be skeptical of any information you receive, whether through physical or digital media. But there is a certain power of persuasion in numbers and popular consensus. If enough people accept a fact on wikipedia without adapting it, my faith in the fact increases exponentially. Same goes for product reviews on Amazon. I would have never dreamed of buying the mattress I just bought online without testing it out myself before i could find solace in 9000 overwhelmingly positive reviews from other users with first hand experience of the product. In academia, the peer review process accomplishes similar ends. And so with networked learning, the volume of information gets more overwhelming with more users but so does the ability to collectively rate that material and let the best information rise to the top. For this to work you don’t just need a large audience but an engaged, participatory audience. Hence the objective in all of us not only writing but also commenting and responding to blog posts in this class.

  5. Thank you for sharing. You bring out an interesting perspective as academics. As students, researchers, or as a member of an academic community in general, we are getting used to discuss the sources of where the information comes from. However, there is a myth nowadays that facts are no longer facts. There is an interesting article that expresses our new definition of “truth”:

    “The constructive conflict of classroom debate was replaced by safe spaces and trigger warnings, and with it went the courage to confront the mediocrity of second-rate ideas. Ironically, this has left us without the ability to rightly judge fact from fiction. Bloom predicted that there would come a day when many Americans saw the truth as relative. That day is here.” something to think about! Thank you for sharing such exciting blog!

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