My reflections on “MOOCs of Hazard” – a well-thought out, balanced article by Andrew Delbanco


From DSC: Below are my reflections on MOOCs of Hazard — from newrepublic.com by Andrew Delbanco — who asks:  Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well…


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While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that online education will dampen the college experience — and while I could point to some amazing capabilities that online education brings to the table in terms of true global exchanges — I’ll instead focus my comments on the following items:

 

1) Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are recent experiments — ones that will continue to change/morph into something else.
They are half-baked at best, but they should not be taken lightly. Christensen, Horn, Johnson are spot on with their theories of disruption here, especially as they relate to innovations occurring within the virtual/digital realm.  For example, the technologies behind IBM’s Watson could be mixed into the list of ingredients that will be used to develop MOOCs in the future.  It would be a very powerful, effective MOOC indeed if you could get the following parties/functionalities to the table:

  • IBM — to provide Watson like auto-curation/filtering capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as data mining/learning analytics expertise, joined by
  • Several highly-creative firms from the film/media/novel/storytelling industry, who would be further joined by
  • Experts from Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/user interface/user experience design teams, who would be further joined by
  • Programmers and interaction specialists from educational gaming endeavors (and from those who can design simulations), joined by
  • Instructional designers, joined by
  • The appropriate Subject Matter Experts who can be reached by the students as necessary, joined by
  • Those skilled in research and library services, joined by
  • Legal experts to assist with copyright issues, joined by
  • Other specialists in mobile learning,  3D, web development, database administration, animation, graphic design, musicians, etc.

It won’t be long before this type of powerful team gets pulled together — from some organizations(s) with deep pockets — and the content is interacted with and presented to us within our living rooms via connected/Smart TVs and via second screen devices/applications.

2) The benefits of MOOCs
  • For colleges/universities:
    • MOOCs offer some serious marketing horsepower (rather than sound pedagogical tools, at this point in time at least)
    • They are forcing higher ed to become much more innovative
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They move us closer to team-based content creation and delivery
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  • For students:
    • They offer a much less expensive option to go exploring disciplines for themselves…to see if they enjoy (and/or are gifted in) topic A, B or C
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They provide a chance to see what it’s like to learn about something in a digital/virtual manner

3)  The drawbacks of MOOCs:
  • MOOCs are not nearly the same thing as what has come to be known as “online learning” — at least in the higher ed industry. MOOCs do not yet offer what more “traditional” (can I say that?) online learning provides: Far more support and pedagogical/instructional design, instructor presence and dialog, student academic support services, advising, more student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction, etc.
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  • MOOCs are like drinking from a firehose — there are too many blogs/RSS feeds, twitter feeds, websites, and other resources to review.

4) It would be wise for all of us to be involved with such experiments and have at least a subset of one’s college or university become much more nimble/responsive.

 

Also see:

From DSC:
Some very frustrated reflections after reading:

Excerpt:

Right now, boys are falling out of the kindergarten through 12th grade educational pipeline in ways that we can hardly imagine.

 

This situation continues to remind me of the oil spill in the Gulf (2010), where valuable resources spilled into the water untapped — later causing some serious issues:
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From DSC:
What are we doing?!!! We’ve watched the dropout rates grow — it doesn’t seem we’ve changed our strategies nearly enough! But the point that gets lost in this is that we will all pay for these broken strategies — and for generations to come!  It’s time to seriously move towards identifying and implementing some new goals.

What should the new goals look like? Here’s my take on at least a portion of a new vision for K-12 — and collegiate — education:

  • Help students identify their God-given gifts and then help them build up their own learning ecosystems to support the development of those gifts. Hook them up with resources that will develop students’ abilities and passions.
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  • Part of their learning ecosystems could be to help them enter into — and build up — communities of practice around subjects that they enjoy learning about. Those communities could be local, national, or international. (Also consider the creation of personalized learning agents, as these become more prevalent/powerful.)
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  • Do everything we can to make learning enjoyable and foster a love of learning — as we need lifelong learners these days.
    (It doesn’t help society much if students are dropping out of K-12 or if people struggle to make it through graduation — only to then harbor ill feelings towards learning/education in general for years to come.  Let’s greatly reduce the presence/usage of standardized tests — they’re killing us!  They don’t seem to be producing long-term positive results. I congratulate the recent group of teachers who refused to give their students such tests; and I greatly admire them for getting rid of a losing strategy.)

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  • Give students more choice, more control over what their learning looks like; let them take their own paths as much as possible (provide different ways to meet the same learning objective is one approach…but perhaps we need to think beyond/bigger than that. The concern/fear arises…but how will we manage this? That’s where a good share of our thinking should be focused; generating creative answers to that question.)
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  • Foster curiosity and wonder
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  • Provide cross-disciplinary assignments/opportunities
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  • Let students work on/try to resolve real issues in their communities
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  • Build up students’ appreciation of faith, hope, love, empathy, and a desire to make the world a better place. Provide ways that they can contribute.
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  • Let students experiment more — encourage failure.
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White light separates into a dazzling array of colors– from mymodernmet.com by Stephen Knapp

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From DSC:
I’ve been pondering the question…”Should we put students more in charge of selecting and/or creating the content?” And I’m thinking, absolutely.  We may be surprised at the results. They’ll own their learning more when they have more choice, more control over what they are working on. Give them real-world problems to solve. Enlist multiple disciplines (writing, art, music, computer science, engineering, mathematics, business skills, etc.). Active, project-based learning. Enlist web-based collaboration and teams — take on a project with a classroom 1/2 way around the world.

Some relevant items:

For folks interested in art:
The Profilograph: A rotating device that creates continuously morphing profiles — from  thisiscolossal.com

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The Profilograph: A Rotating Device that Creates Continuously Morphing Profiles shadows device

 

From DSC:
An interesting cross-disciplinary device, no?

Talk about the creative side of computing! Turning video games into live music -- meet the Tacit Group

 

From DSC:
Some serious cross-disciplinary work/fun/experimentation going on here!

 

How student help desks support mobile devices — from centerdigitaled.com by Tanya Roscorla

Excerpt:

The help desk staff members each have a title, role and responsibilities. They solve problems for students and staff in-person, but they also update a blog with videos that address common issues they see.

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Also see:

  • Why learning should be messy — from blogs.kqed.org by Nikhil Goyal
    Excerpt:
    “Today’s problems — from global poverty to climate change to the obesity epidemic — are more interconnected and intertwined than ever before and they can’t possibly be solved in the academic or research ‘silos’ of the twentieth century,” writes Frank Moss, the former head of the M.I.T. Media Lab. Schools cannot just simply add a “creativity hour” and call it a day.

Animator creates incredible musical painting with $5 iPad app [VIDEO] — from Mashable by Christine Erickson

Excerpt:

“I really recommend it to anyone who does storyboards, concept art and animators, filmmakers, producers, whatever — this is the future,” says the video’s lead animator and director, Whitney Alexander. (You can see the full making-of here.)

Also see:

 

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Motion Poems -- Moving Poems. Moving.

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From DSC:
Another nice example of a cross-disciplinary assignment!

 

From Daniel Christian: Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes.


From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did for the Title II Conference at Calvin College back on August 11, 2011
It is aimed at K-12 audiences.


 

Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a K-12 audience)

 


From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did today for the Calvin College Fall 2011 Conference.
It is aimed at higher education audiences.


 

 Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a higher ed audience)

 


Note from DSC:

There is a great deal of overlap here, as many of the same technologies are (or will be) hitting the K-12 and higher ed spaces at the same time. However, there are some differences in the two presentations and what I stressed depended upon my audience.

Pending time, I may put some audio to accompany these presentations so that folks can hear a bit more about what I was trying to relay within these two presentations.


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First day of school: Anastasis Academy #standagain — from iLearnTechnology.com

Excerpt:

Today was one for the books.  We did it! We opened a school with a radical new vision for what a school should look like in light of learning.  It was a truly great day!

Mission:
[Anastasis Academy’s mission] is to apprentice children in the art of learning through inquiry, creativity, critical thinking, discernment and wisdom.  We strive to provide an educational model that honors and supports children as the unique and creative individuals that God created them to be.  We work to shape the development of the whole-child by engaging the mind, body and spirit while inspiring each to personal excellence.

Also see:

Look where you want to go and steer in that direction: How a blog started a school — from Dreams of Education (6/24/11)

 

From DSC:
24 “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine on you  and be gracious to you;  26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) May He bless your efforts as you seek to not only impact the minds of — but also the hearts of — your students.

 

We really need to impact both in order for our future students to make significant, positive impacts around the globe. Way to go Kelly!

 

The 15 best electron microscope images of 2011 — from dvice.com by Evan Ackerman

 

 

From DSC:
God does amazing work, doesn’t He? Glory to God in the highest! I love how these images show God’s creative and detail-oriented, attributes.

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Nice! Adidas France – 3D Mapping Projection — from narrativenow.com by siobhan

 

Adidas France 3D Mapping Projection -- incredible creativity and innovation!

 

From DSC:

Incredible creativity and innovation in this event/piece. Are we fostering this type of creativity in our schools/classes/curriculums?



 

 

 

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