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Final Reflections on the #edcmooc experience

Tweet

I wasn’t joking when I tweeted this. And here I am about to take another MOOC course.

Though I still feel like a cocoon, I’d like to get here eventually.

Butterfly

Reflection on my own engagement during this course

Learning is rewarding, but it’s tiring too.

This MOOC has been one of the best learning experiences in my recent life and I think it had such an impact on me because it required me to apply what I was learning creatively. This wasn’t a typical course with a set syllabus where you could check assignments off a list.

I probably should have engaged more in the other channels, but for some reason I found Twitter to be the easiest to engage in.  I’ll confess that this is most likely due to convenience. In my next course, I would probably choose a different social media to engage with others in the class. But not Facebook. Call me a curmudgeon, but I’d like to keep Facebook in a separate place in my life… like off. Is it right that I don’t want to use it? Or should I succumb and become part of the entity?

To be frank and I may lift some of the learning & reflection I’ve taken from the #edcmooc, Facebook does not make me feel human.  I don’t feel like I want to know small details from other people’s lives or share private parts of my life and thinking with others and if I do maybe on my own terms. I like hearing about people tell me about their lives and their children in person. Maybe this makes me less of a digital native. that I want to carve my own little cubby corner where I can still think and be on my own, so be it.  I read recently in a tweet or blogpost of a classmate that they felt that the #edcmooc was both an enriching and lonely experience.  I can see that. For me it was less lonely, but by then end I was really jonesing to be ‘disconnected’ for a bit.

I am glad the designers of the course didn’t settle on one channel of social media. If it had been only Facebook I would have been SOL, but I guess that’s part of the point to have multiple channels in which to learn.

The flow of good information and thoughts shared by others in this course was overwhelming. I’m still reading through blogposts I favorited from the second week of class. I may never get to all of them, but I am inclined to read the posts of people I connected with in the Twitter feed going forward. This is probably the greatest value I got from the course: connecting with and learning from others.

I’ll be honest about one more thing. I took this course, more for the experience of being in a MOOC, not as much for the subject or the prospect of getting credit. This was my first experience in such a large course. I wanted to experience it and analyze it from an Instructional Designer’s perspective. I was incredibly curious about how such a course would work, and for the most part it seemed to do just that. Whether it gave use the ‘traditional’ higher-education experience that was academically rigorous is another matter. You could make that age old argument: “It is what you make of it.” While this may apply, I still feel that guidance and feedback from instructors even on a broad scale. On a regular basis would have been more helpful. I did notice a few facilitators really engaging with students in the Twitter and in replies on the forums, but I felt somehow that their feedback wasn’t always there. Or maybe i missed them like I keep missing the Easter Bunny.

Would I do it again? Yes. Would it be as engaging and as much fun as in the #edcmooc course? I’m not sure.

The artefact experience and consuming custom created content

I’ll admit I probably put more into my artefact that I should have. I was dealing with a topic that I feel passionate about and probably didn’t spend enough time killing my darlings. I’m glad that I was able to learn about tools I hadn’t used before for creating content like Prezi or Wallwisher.

As I watched many of the videos outside of the assigned clips I realized how much YouTube has been commercializing content, some of which was not meant have a  home despot ad attached to it. It reminded me that even though we’re creating this content for free, if it’s popular, it’s becoming a commercial vehicle for someone else.

When you share things online whether it’s a quip or a carefully crafted video, you’re providing fuel for the machine. Whether it’s data to be harvested or attractive electronic flypaper (if your creation is ‘good’) you’re still contributing the lucrative value of web-content. This world of free-wheeling sharing may all seem wonderful and open right now, but I wonder how long this will last. Or will people’s expectations and demands for easily accessible content that is ad-free trump the engines that demand ad capital. I’m not sure.

Where do I go from here?

Things I learned about learning from this class:

  • Learning is messy. Thanks to @EleniZazani for the image
  • Learning makes me feel human
  • Learning with others and from them is powerful
  • Learning may not bring us to utopia, but it may help us get there
  • Cultures need to continue to put a higher value on lifelong learning

I still have links to use, and tools to learn as time permits. I want to use sort my Pearl Trees and really use Storify. I want to explore every tool or website I bookmarked or favorited. And as I wrap this up I realize that I’ll probably still be learning from this course three months from now.

 

Learning is Messy. Moocing is messy too

Image by @EleniZazani

Information Architecture Primer

http://prezi.com/tq_4ud-rokma/information-architecture/

Just experimenting some more with Prezi. Been meaning to try to explain I.A. more in a simpler way. I’d like to go back and apply a metaphor to this.

Click the link above to view the Prezi

Click the link above to view the Prezi

Digital Artefact: The Future of Learning #edcmooc

I think I’ll have more time to reflect and comment on my artefact and the experience of making it in a few days, but for now here it is.

http://prezi.com/eaixra1t5vnf/future-of-learning/

Frontpage of digital artefact for #edcmooc

Digital Artefact for my “Elearning & Digital Cultures” class

 

Clarke’s 3rd Law #edcmooc

Added yesterday.  Got my imagination going to think of what I think would be magic…

What is magic to you? Will it be magical to your grandchildren?

Voice added to presentation on what the best online facilitators do

I was able to add some audio to this presentation. Admittedly it was recorded & edited in a hurry. And naturally after listening to it for the 3rd time I think I’d cut down the text by more than 1/3.

The Dying Art of Liberal Arts Education & the Failure of the Human Education Project #edcmooc

The following includes my response to the Fuller talk posted in the Week3 #edcmooc materials: Steve Fuller – Defining Humanity.

1. Why does Professor Fuller say (almost as a joke) that education is ‘a dying art’?

Fuller is speaking of education in the classical sense. Education, as in Liberal Arts. He’s referencing the ‘humanities’ project of educating young people at the university around a prescribed classical curriculum. This is a curriculum very similar to the one of my undergraduate education which was developed around what are called “Great Books.”

I’ve been raised to think that a balanced and rich education included learning the content and philosophies in these classic works, and not just interpreting the works and their original intent but looking at the current world and interpreting what we saw through the lens of these texts. More than this my education seemed to suit me because it espoused and preached the value of exploration of the world around me via constant inquiry.  The key to benefiting from these ‘classical’ texts is having professors and peer who help you interpret and understand them not just in the context in which they were written, but to understand how the messages of these text apply or don’t apply to current day living, and perhaps I’ve outed myself as a “Classics Curmudgeon,” but I will stand my my defense of understanding these texts as necessary to developing critical thought.

Now, if you choose to measure the success the Liberal Arts  by whether or not it’s able to educate universally among all peoples and classes, then yes, it is a failure. And if you consider that most universities no longer offer Liberal Arts as an option because the market has demanded that graduates emerge from university with skills directly applicable to the workforce, then, yes, it practically is a dying art.

2. He talks about the ‘modern artifice’ of enhancement: how might this notion of becoming more ‘fully human’ via enhancement impact on the project of education?

The definition of what is human to the educators of the “Classical” period, as Fuller states, was not achievable by every person.  It’s still not achievable by everyone, but does it mean that it’s irrelevant?  It could be that I’m misinterpreting this question so I’ll restate what I think it’s saying: How does the notion of becoming more human impact the project of education? (to be frank I really don’t like how this question is worded and I feel that it could be framed much better. For example, How does the notion or goal of improving ‘humanity’ impact the project of education. Have we been able to attain any improvement, if so to what extent? ).  It really depends upon the current definition of what is human. I agree that social values and norms surrounding the definition of humanity, for example, ideas such as democracy and equal rights that are supposedly espoused as ‘ideal values’ that modern societies try to uphold are more broadly applied than they were in Plato’s day where class and social status determined if you were ‘human’ or not.  Having a whole class of ‘inhuman’ people made open slavery possible.

If you look at the dismal failure of NCLB in the United States, clearly this attempt to improve public education for all has really done nothing to improve the levels of education for students in the US. In fact, it’s done more harm than good by placing a greater emphasis on memorization and thinking within the context of the tests rather than helping students develop stronger creative and critical thinking skills that will help them participate in the a marketplace that requires higher level and innovative thinking to remain completive.

3.Professor Fuller argues that there’s historical precedent for considering only some homo sapiens to be ‘human’: what are the political implications of this in contemporary times? And how might such a notion position education?

If you think of the fact that basic human rights to regular nourishment, water and shelter are denied to billions of people then yes we haven’t even begun to successfully humanize the rest of the population. His argument is a painful reminder that this definition of humanity may still be only accessible to people in the more affluent nations. In our own times and as nations suffer from conflicts over the scarcity of resources, this idea that only a special few can reap the benefits of this world, only a few can become educated. If you want to continue to assume that humanity is a special club for a network of people. It’s no secret that the struggle to become human has been inextricably intwined with the struggle to conquer nature and become prosperous.  But in a world where a population of over 10 billion people could become a reality in the next century, this idea that we can all live these idealized prosperous lives becomes more and more preposterous. The idea that the world that exists in Graphic Novels about Zombie Apocalypses becomes more realistic than fantasy.

In "The Mark of Gideon," episode Star Trek envisioned a world that was so crowded from overpopulation there was no place to sit & think

In “The Mark of Gideon,” episode Star Trek envisioned a world that was so crowded from overpopulation there was no place to sit & think

4. He suggests that we are questioning the very existence of the ‘human’ because we have failed in the humanist project (for example, we are far from achieving racial, gender or class equality): do you believe this?

I think it’s still possible for people to obtain or achieve this version of ‘ideal humanity’ on a universal basis. However, there are structures in place, economic & societal that make this difficult to achieve. On the other hand this vision of perfect humanity being represented by the erudite and highly educated seems like an elitist paradigm. After all we can’t all become those ‘philosopher kings’ that have nothing to to all day but learn and figure out what’s best for the rest of humanity ;) Maybe that’s why this old ‘human project’ is outdated. The object should be to educate a chosen few but offer the fertilizer to a greater part of the field and then help those who flourish become the new leaders of tomorrow. Think that recent history especially in the 20th century is replete with example of this in scholarships. But the MOOC allows even more people than those few underprivileged who win scholarships.

5. In claiming that ‘the old humanistic project should not be dropped’, Professor Fuller links his talk to our key theme of re-asserting the human. His stance seems to be that ‘you can only be morally credible’ if you are addressing issues of human freedom and equality. Thinking about education specifically, might we see MOOCs as an example of an ‘old humanistic project’, particularly in the promise they appear to offer for democratisation, equality of access and so on?

MOOCs are part of the democratization of the passing down of knowledge. The fact that it’s accessible to anyone is indeed democratic. The fact that a good many poor people around the globe still don’t have access to the Internet is not so democratic. But I prefer to see Fuller’s suggestion as a warning to change this view of ‘higher education’  and adapt the “Classical” curriculum as well as how and whom we deliver it to. Specifically the world is changed and world views have changed somewhat therefore, the works that are read. In India, a core group of educators is trying to educate one of their lowest social groups: Women. The argument, educated women defer childbirth and have less children. With less mouths to feed and less competition for jobs, the people as a whole become more prosperous.

Photo attribution: Mark of Gideon - http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_Mark_of_Gideon_(episode)

Technology Can’t Replace Teachers – Week 3 Image #edcmooc

An attempt at a digital image for Week 3. I was inspired by Week 2′s Twitter Chat’s question:

Q2: Is the future teacher a computer or a human?

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 4.36.52 PM


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