Online Academies and their Self-appointed Educators

The amount of ‘GYAN’ being distributed freely on about every known issue, subject and discipline on the social media –Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and the like, is unbelievable. It is very difficult if not impossible for anyone to come up with questions which have not been already answered on Quora or SlideShare; and should such questions remain, one can expect to seek answers by posting the questions on such sites.

The depth and width of ‘knowledge’ being peddled online is unmatchable by any individual subject-expert or even a University. Truly therefore, these are the NEW universities which are exclusively online and distribute ‘GYAN’ in both the modes – synchronous and asynchronous.

The only problem is that there is no accountability or responsibility taken by these academies for the GYAN which they distribute.  These academies are totally democratic and non-discriminatory. They have free and open enrolment of faculty and students, with no essentiality of any prior learning of any sort. With no entry or exit hurdles for faculty and students, they also do not directly conduct any evaluations or certifications. Credentials are certified by ‘measurable metrics’ of the kind-  ‘clicks’ ‘likes’ ‘follows’ ‘shares’ or ‘comments’ – which are a manifestation of democratic votes for an educator of these online academies.

Such manifestation imparting itself so strongly into mainstream information seems harmless. After all, it is helpful and important to be clear about the kind of world we are living in and the kind of life we desire because that clarity shapes our values, decisions, and relationships to all things material, including money.

There is nothing that makes self-appointed educators qualified to sell the promise of a less ignorant life. It is easy for these people to step into roles of knowledge leaders on Facebook or Instagram because, now more than ever, youngsters in particular, want something meaningful to believe in and reach out for information and knowledge outside the conventional and traditional institutions. Youngsters are seemingly looking for information and community in combination.

One of the positive things about a wider array of people being able to access an audience is the kind of democratization of information and knowledge leadership, but without a collective protocol to determine whom we trust to answer life’s greatest questions, we also forget to consider the capabilities, credentials and motives of those who are answering these questions for us.

As mainstream information continues to be shaped by social media, criticism of those who profit from such ventures is fundamental to protecting not only our own well-being, but the future of truth itself. As they say, if you don’t have information, you are uninformed; if you have information, most likely, you are misinformed. The problem then manifests in your belief that you are properly informed and knowledgeable. Should we worry about expertise becoming a commodity and eluding accountability?

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Disclaimer:

These contents of this post may qualify as ‘GYAN’ and I, as the author of this post, may as well fit the description of a ‘self-appointed educator’ as meant in this post. This posting is intended solely for those readers who are discerning and matured enough to choose what is right for them and is not an unsolicited commercial communication or spam. This content of this post is not guaranteed to be complete or error free. No liability is assumed for any errors and/or omissions in the contents of this message.

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First published 27 November 2020

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“Likes” “Follows” “Shares” and “Comments” welcome.

We hope the conversations that take place will be energetic, constructive, and thought-provoking. To ensure the quality of the discussion, comments may be edited for clarity, length, and relevance. Comments that are overly promotional, mean-spirited, or off-topic may be deleted.

Published by

Mukul Gupta

*Educator, researcher, author and a friendly contrarian* Professor@MDIGurgaon

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