March/April 2000 // Letters to the Editor
Gary Brown Responds
by Gary Brown
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: Gary Brown "Gary Brown Responds" The Technology Source, March/April 2000. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

In Stephen Downes' critique of my January/February Technology Source column, "Where Do We Go From Here" (Brown, 2000), he challenges my depiction of the Chronicle as the "Bellwether of the Academy," yet he overlooks my attribution of the term to the root, ascribed, traditionally, to "the leader of the flock." Downes otherwise mostly echoes and extends my concerns about the misguided pedagogies of many traditionalists— flock. As Downes says, "My own estimation is that the Chronicle is probably not a particularly good source; most of what is happening in online learning is happening outside the traditional circles typically reported by the Chronicle." Where we differ most significantly, it appears, is less in qualitative concerns and more in our estimations of quantity, on what pedagogies best describe "most of what is happening." I'm not persuaded that "traditional circles" have yet been relegated into the minority.

It's not necessarily a small quibble. But we don't disagree, I surmise, about the need for elevating the discussion. To the extent that reforms that reflect "significant pedagogical change" are happening, they are doing so, as Downes notes, outside of the main stream. Like the debate, those reforms are outpacing the majority of those currently shaping up in traditional institutions. As Downes also notes, change is happening "in startups like Unext." While the popular press and many of higher education's purported leaders like K.C. Green (In Morrison, 1999) ponder whether online learning and technology work, teams of developers, as Downes again observes, are making it work. They are not doing so, however, as Downes astutely argues, by capitulating to the self-proclaimed "sovereignty" of instructors who often reflect higher education's greatest travesty—who have no real training in education and, I would add, too often have even less interest in it.


Brown, G. (2000, January/February). Where do we go from here? The Technology Source. Retrieved January 28 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Morrison, J. L. (1999). The role of technology in education today and tomorrow: An interview with Kenneth Green, part II. On the Horizon, 7(1). Retrieved 22 April 1999 from the World Wide Web:

downloadable gamesadventure gamesplatform gameskids gamesaction gamesword gameshidden object gamesmarble popper gamescard games
View Related Articles >