Have we reached the fourth dimension (or are we back to the second)?
I teach a history and theology course online. Thereâ€™s one thing thatâ€™s missing — bodies. Three dimensional bodies. Our connection happens along the intergalactic highway of the internet, a medium that allows us to communicate — but in a very peculiar kind of way.
Do I sound selfish when I notice that although I read your online postings, I canâ€™t see you or hear you? I miss closing my eyes like a wise old owl and listening to you react to the text weâ€™ve just read together. Maybe itâ€™s because my ego isnâ€™t stroked quite as much in the online world. The words of your online posting tell me very little about the intensity of your feelings, your attitude towards the material we are studying, or your opinion of yourself. I donâ€™t see how your body reacts to the text. I miss this. I must learn how to make that happen through the words I see from you on my screen.
Online learning moves us in many ways into a new dimension of relationship.But what is this dimension? The black lines on the white screen that make up your posting show me something, but not what Iâ€™ve been trained to look for. They donâ€™t make you more robust or real. They are flat, two dimensional. Whereâ€™s the body in the two-dimensional world of the internet? Who do I see when I read your postings?