They say time can heal all wounds. It can also reveal painful data. Most would not be surprised to know that academic performance in online education would favor the affluent, but it goes much deeper than that. In an age when access to information is virtually, to some degree, costless, we are finding a new socioeconomic gap emerging with the utility of online resources. The New York Times has highlighted a recent study from the University of Connecticut on this topic.
During my time as a PR Director at a local community college, I conducted a brand awareness study in the region. The study included an examination of technology use for accessing music – radio, CDs, etc. – during everyday commutes. The consultants found an interesting point of data for the region. Summarizing the point, citizens in the area owned and had access to technology similar to other regions in the country. However, the depth of utility of these resources was quite limited. Stated as an analogy, it’s the difference between using a cell phone to make calls, text, and watch videos and using the same device to conduct transactions and complex information searches. The findings made sense to me, although depressing.