All aboard - Destination unknown: A sociological discussion of online learning

Andra K. Goldberg, Frances Julia Riemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This paper is an attempt to describe the emergence and growing popularity of online distance education over the past 30 years through changing sociological lenses. Examining the re-casting of the electronic classroom through the euphoria of techno-positivism, the power-embedded analysis of Critical Theory of Technology (CTT), and the critique of postmodernism, the paper addresses the implications suggested by each theoretical interpretation. Using the metaphor of a high-speed train, we encourage administrators, instructors and technicians to stop and reflect on the destination, rather than simply marvel at the speeds at which we are traveling and the engine that powers our ride.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-172
Number of pages7
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Critical theory of technology
  • Distance education
  • Online classes
  • Postmodernism
  • Techno-utopianism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Engineering


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