My reactions to Weller’s essay is a strong sense of enlightenment. In the initial eight chapters of the article, the author outlined a clear timeline that illustrated the evolvement of e-learning, Though concise and brief, the author provided key pointers that are concise but rich enough for me to have an holistic picture of how the Internet was gradually applied in education, with each stage over the 6 years mentioned in the essay, commencing from the advent of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) in 1994 to the proposal of the e-learning concept in 1999 to the final establishment of standards applied for digital education at the dawn of 21st century. Adding to the overview is the analysis of the interplay between different stages, based on the comparison of pros and cons of the advances over the period. All these lead to a in-depth review of the development of e-learning.
Among the bullet points discussed in these chapters, what preoccupies me most is the Wikis chapter. As well as being a pure supporting information resource, the construction concept and approach of Wikipedia were the very contributor to the maturity of e-learning, that is, the so-called ‘“democratized publishing”. It is by the discussion on this concept that the author provides me an alternative way to review the relevance of wikis to distance learning. Another reason why this point ‘speaks’ to me more than other chapters my personal experience with the current study in MALAT – When doing an group assignment, we are actually apply the method and concept derived from wikis back in 1998.
If I were to write a similar essay on the history of educational technology, I would also start from the year 1994. The reason is exactly same as mentioned in the introduction of the Weller’s essay – despite the emerge of the Internet in late 1980s, it is not until 1994 that this technology started to play its part in education. My own experience of this situation can be seen when I searched for reference information for my middle school assignment in early 1990s, there was hardly any digital resources apart from library. By contrast, starting from mid 1990s, BBS started to find its way in university, where students use it as a nascent tool for communication in intranet, both synchronous and asynchronously.