Can Technology Enhance Social Relations?

I’ve often wondered what sort of impact technology will have on social relations.  Over the past 5 years or so, we’ve seen online social networks become incredibly popular, text messaging replace calling, and emails being the common form of written communication.  As we become more and more dependent on technology to create a social environment, my thoughts have always been that we would become less personable with each other.  definitely wondered if this would be the case with an online classroom.

With a traditional classroom setting I expect that I will make a few acquaintances that I can sit next to or call for help with an assignment, and that I will be able to talk with my professor before or after class if I need.  Working full time and going to school, I don’t expect lunch dates and weekly study sessions, but I do expect to get to know a few students on a more personal level. With an online learning platform, none of these expectations have been compromised.  Though I have not met anyone face to face yet, some students have been able to do so.  Through our bulletin-like postings we can find classmates in our area that want to attend conferences or other events together.  Also, each student puts together a profile similar to a Facebook profile which allows you to find common interests between you and your classmates.

I guess it will take some time to see the affects of technology on our social lives, but my experiences with the MAT@USC program have caused me to re-evaluate my original hypothesis.  Technology has definitely allowed us to do more than we thought possible, and this program has proved that it can not only match, but enhance, a classroom setting.

Until next week, Fight On!