George-- Your message which had such difficulty making it onto xmca seems
also to have had difficulty getting any answers!
I have read it a couple of times, now, and hesitate to provide anything
like a real answer because you raise so many issues at one time.
In particular, the term, e-learning, means a lot of different things to me
and I am sure a lot of different things to others on xmca. You describe
one arrangements-- reading pdf files, have a tutor to correspond with. You
ask about tools in this context and whether they can substitute for human
teachers (if I understand you correctly).
Some of us have participated in quite different kinds of e-learning, some
of it more or less "all at a distance" some of it mixing face to face and
web-based activity. I think that so much depends upon the mixture of factors
that enter into organization of the *community of learners/teachers* that
I would start from there and then begin my inquiry into the questions you
raise. I do not think there is one right answer, but lots of answers. Many
on this list, Kevin Rocap for one, have a ton of experience in this area.
This fall there are plans afoot to put together an other, or more than one
other, course around themes of interest to the MCA community. There is
almost a new facility on XMCA which will be a book discussion group
threaded discussion that could be part of a distributed course. We have
made a little headway in the does and donts of such efforts.
Perhaps addressing your questions in the context of a real live, ongoing,
collaborative effort would be a good way to ground the discussion.
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