Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, curriculum planners are giving more weightage to online learning. However, it would be incomplete to re-imagine curricula without considering the factors impacting learning. In this context, the ‘Great Media Debate’ (GMD), initiated between Richard Clark and Robert Kozma in the 1990s, discusses the factors influencing learning. While Clark focuses on instructional methods, Kozma posits that both methods and media impact learning. Our study re-visits the GMD in the present context of online learning and extends it, making it more heuristic by adding a specific contextual social factor, i.e., Availability and Accessibility of the Internet (A2I) at the individual/ household level to the debate. We build our proposition based on the 11,489 learners’ responses collected as a part of the Pan-IIT study in India and focus on the case study of one specific institution, IIT Jammu. The analysis using chi-square tests, Fisher’s exact tests, and descriptive statistics finds strong evidence for A2I to impact online learning, thereby broadening the GMD. A2I also influences the media by shaping the learners’ preferences for the media used in traditional classrooms. Finally, it brings out the rural-urban divide due to unequal internet distribution, raising the possibility of a more exclusionary curriculum for the learners. We conclude that there is a need for the contextual social factor, i.e., A2I, among others, to be strongly acknowledged in the GMD, enabling it to take a more comprehensive form and consequently, holding the potential to enrich the curricular reimagination.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.