International Workshop “Social perspective of e-Learning and Development in the Information Era”

On Monday I attended the International Workshop “Social perspective of e-Learning and Development in the Information Era”, organized by the UNESCO Chair in e-Learning of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Here come the notes I took:


Mónica G. Luque. Organization of American States.
American vision of the social perspective of e-learning in higher education

e-Learning brings a new concept: learning management. It might not seem new, but it actually is. In presencial learning there’s no learning to manage as everything is in the lecturer’s head: content, the syllabus of the course, students’ feedback, etc.

She quoted Humberto Maturana and his term “lenguajear” (languagize), which is a way of emphasizing the dynamic relational character of language: the definition of terminology, policies, real incorporation of terms and actions, etc. is the path we’re on right now in e-learning, we’re just languagizing e-learning more than learning its language.

Some links she gave:

And the four “distances” that e-Learning helps to save:

  • Geographical
  • Temporal
  • Technological
  • Cultural


Tapio Varis. University of Tampere.
Social perspective of e-learning in national education systems.

Quote: “you cannot look at the University if you don’t look at the educational system as a whole”


Ramiro Wahrhafitg. Universidad Electrónica del Paraná.
Social perspective of e-learning in Brasil’s higher education system.

Quote: “e-Learning is a borderless education
I think this was already true in distance education, but e-learning has overwhelmingly updated the concept.


David Casacuberta. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
E-Learning and social inclusion in the spanish higher education framework.

3 main activity lines in e-development:

  • infrastructure
  • digital literacy
  • development for disabilities: accessibility for Administration websites, etc.

Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize in Economics), in his book Development as Freedom, makes the difference amongst “functions” and “capacities”, i.e., send e-mails or organize a flashmob by using e-mails

We’re used to think in functions but we’d rather shift to capacities: there’s a need of empowerment of ICT

This lack of education in capacities makes it more difficult to accept new technologies, motivation, etc.: “what’s in it for me?” (note to self: I think this is quite related to the success in our online volunteering programme, in the side of the e-volunteer and in the side of the people and organizations receiving e-volunteers).


Marco Antonio Rodrígues Gies. United Nations University.
Social perspective of e-learning in the University: a UNESCO’s vision.

Quote: “we have to control intangible goods: education, culture, environment, etc.”

Quote: “education is often dealed as a commodity, but it is too related to a country’s culture or social reality to deal with it under such a concept only”


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2004) “International Workshop “Social perspective of e-Learning and Development in the Information Era”” In ICTlogy, #6, March 2004. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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