Designing a new online pedagogy

This blog is in response to a G+ post.

George Station, thanks for pulling me in to this discussion. Wow! I started reading an hour ago, but as I tried to catch up with reading all the linked-references, the discussion keeps unraveling further. Phew! It’s like trying to catch a running train!

Anyway, George asked me to respond to “problems which are hidden in land-based pedagogy”. Here is my response:

Yes, Meg Tufano, I agree, “online can be better than land-based … it is possible”

Yes, Laura Gibbs, you hit the nail right on the head, when a MOOC has “100,000 people… no way discussion board will work … need stream-oriented like Google+ or Twitter or Facebook”

Meg’s opinion is that “ The BEST online course design would have AUTOMATIC small groups…”

FYI, the Stanford Venture Lab platform, now known as NovoEd, has (some of) these functionalities. The platform is designed to allow both “organic” self-assigned groups and “automated” system-assigned groups. Plus, it has “push-notification” capacity for all its discussions.

The MOOC – Designing a New Learning Environment (DNLE), which Laura and I were participants in, utilized this online group tool. Unfortunately, at that time, the platform was still in beta-version, and there were hiccups in both the technology implementation, as well as in the pedagogical design of the group assignment. Also, even though the platform has “push-notification” capacity, (at the time) it did not have the “stream-feed” feature.

However, (I know for a fact that) both the platform programmers (people in NovoED) as well as the teaching team (people in Stanford) have since actively solicited feedback and encouraged ongoing research collaboration with past DNLE participants in effort to fix the pilot-phase hiccups, improve the platform-design, AND explore new online pedagogy-design.

But how far or how effective this “pseudo-crowdsourcing” effort will be, only time will tell…

As Tarak Barkawi in AlJazeera said, “The real story behind MOOCs may be the ways in which they assist management restructuring efforts of core university practices, under the smiley-faced banner of “open access” and assisted in some cases by their “superstar”, camera-ready professors.”

And in order to “restructure core university practices”, we need to ”experiment teaching methods”, as Michael Feldstein pointed out in response to the (now famous) San Jose State University open letter to Harvard, “ Rather than thinking of MOOCs as products to be bought or rejected… approach them as experiments in teaching methods that can be validated, refuted, or refined through the collective efforts of a scholarly community”

As George pointed out, such “collective efforts of scholarly communities” are critical, and  “various [worldwide] PLNs can and do coalesce, we just don’t have formal titles”

But George… we do have a “title”…

…as you pointed out in your earlier post reference, Chris Newfield calls us “the untouchables”… (grin!)

My closing statement:

Meg said  “Technology is NOT this beautiful Mac on which I type, it is in ME, my knowledge and skills”

This reminds me of a quote by Joichi Ito, the Director of MIT’s Media Lab, who believes that “Internet is not a Technology, it’s a Philosophy”  and that one of the tenets of online learning pedagogy is “disobedience over compliance”

On that note,

I call upon all (us) untouchables” to rise and disobey! … go ahead… experiment and explore (our own) experimental online pedagogies… … and if it fails, just keep trying!

Quote Paul Kim “Just do it. Fail fast. Learn from your mistakes. Never quit.”

Image MOOC redefined from GetIDEAS panel discussion on April 24, 2013

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