LATINA – or Learning and teaching in a digital world – started today at 10 am.
Notes from Monday.
At the moment there are nine participants, three from abroad and six from Norway. But we expect an additional group of four students from China next week. They were delayed because getting visas takes so long.
The class consists of
- three Erasmus students of librarianship – two from Spain and one from Hungary – who are spending the spring term in Oslo.
- three colleagues working with intercultural projects at Oslo university College members of the Oslo
- three university college teachers from Norway, who follows LATINA as part of their programme for qualifying as senior lecturers (førstelektorer in Norwegian)
What is the purpose, the meaning, the substance of this course?
I often say the course combines the topics of e-learning and digital libraries.
And that is true enough. The triumvirate that designed he first LATINA course, which was held last summer, cosnists of three people that work at the border between teaching and libraries. All three – Helge Høivik, Lars Egeland and myself – have a strong commitment to practical ICT, to effective learning and to deep organizational change. The same is true of our colleague Vibeke Bjarnø, who joined the teaching staff of LATINA this spring.
But if I look beyond our personal interests, I see LATINA as a tool or an effort to move people from one historical culture to another. We grew up in late industrial society. Our social institutions were shaped by mass production of physical goods. Our organizations communicated by means of documents tied to paper.
The very first computers go back to the 1940s. Data technology and applications have developed continuously since then. But it was the World Wide Web that turned ICT from a major to a world-shaking technology.
In history, periods do not end abruptly: they slide into each other. The digital age started with ENIAC (1942) or Turing (1912-54) or even Babbage (1791-1871). The industrial age will certainly linger deep into the 21st century.
But to me we have already passed the turning point. The industrial age ended in 2002, with the deep collapse of the dot-com bubble. The digital age started in 2003.
The post-industrial society plays by different rules. The new generations integrate the web seamlessly into their lives. The new institutions are constructed around the web.
Books and reports that describe the new realities and the new guidelines are appearing in droves. They do not argue for or against. Thet take the digital world for granted – and look at the consequences. We still have lots of choices – but all of them are digital.
The old and the new will coexist for a long time – with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I hope LATINA will work as a lift or a ladder, a bridge or a boat, for those who want to practice the new culture rather than avoiding or fighting it.