People have a wide range of expectations of online learning...
At the fascist extreme there are those who want students to be highly controlled...rat in a maze.
At the techno-hippy end of that spectrum there are those who want to devolve management completely, with every user running their own portfolio site. (my emphasis added)
I expect my online learning to be highly controlled, and like a maze, so I find myself placed at the "fascist" end of the spectrum. I stratch my pate, mumble "fascist?!" and feel something big is missing from the above formulation.
It seems to me that the above formulation would be correct if
1) it referred to learning as a whole, or
2) it referred to a system that could only be used for distance or other pure-online learning, because then again it would refer to the learning environment as a whole.
If I were involved in purely online learning, then my courses which are ful of tests might be appropriately termed "fascist". That is to say that the metaphor would, I feel, be apt.
What the above seems to miss is, however, that for a lot of teachers online learning is but a part (often a minor part) of learning as a whole. If someone were to attempt to control their students in learning as a whole, and treat their students as rats in a maze overall, then "fascist" would I feel be an appropriate appelation.
But since for many teachers, who are either non-technophile themselves or because they have non technophile students, online learning is just a small part of learning life, and because machines are particularly well suited to controlling and putting people through mazes, it seems to me to be very un-fascists to use online education to provide that small bit of fascism, in an otherwise (not techno- but) hippy learning environment.
Online education is not the whole and it need not even mirror the whole. It can be that place to which hippy (not fascist) teachers relegate their 'quizing'.
I would not mention this again but for the ongoing misconception, as I see it, still promulgated in moodle documentation. It is strange to me, but an important issue I believe.
I am reminded of the "'secure windows' aren't secure" debate. To the "techno-" (hippy or otherwise) secure windows do not seem secure because the technified know there is and always will be a technological solution that beats the security measures. Since the solution exists somewhere then (by a dream of n=np perhaps) it is presumed that it will soon be available everywhere, despite the fact, in the non-techno world of students pressing keys, the 'secure windows' do really prevent a lot of cheating. Similarly, when we take a step back from the tech, in the real world of students learning things, the fact that the some take tests, and ONLY tests, online, does not make their teacher 'fascist.' Lets get this straight.