EDCMOOC Wrap Up and Reflections

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about the EDCMOOC course that was delivered through Coursera and I want to note what I think went right and what could be improved.

Unlike many of the other students, I like messy learning. The sort of thing where you’re overwhelmed with ideas, concepts, thoughts and half-baked ideas, and you muddle through and wrestle with some of the ideas – then pick what you want to focus on, and move forward with that. I wasn’t put off by this approach – it’s a sound pedagogical approach for me, but clearly not everyone is in the same space as I am.

I really, really like Coursera’s peer marking structure (when it works). I would’ve preferred a more robust scale and rubric, as I’m a bit of an easy marker. There were areas that I was stretching for connections to the content, if I had clearer marking objectives, I probably would’ve been able to give better feedback. I don’t think I gave terrible feedback at all, but it would’ve been better had I been able to interpret how the instructors (or facilitators in this case) would’ve liked to see. Again, I know why they chose the path they went down, and I agree with their approach pedagogically, but as a user/student, I needed just a little bit more.

The course has to be considered a success due to the sheer number of resources added to the course – starting out with four videos, and then watching the discussion boards grow with other resources was wild.

I purposefully chose to use other media to contribute, and I’m not sure how successful that approach was – twitter comments I made about the course seemed to be received well; blog posts were less viewed and commented on. I do cultivate my twitter feed much better than my blog, which is a bit sad I suppose. I could’ve pimped my thoughts and ideas through the discussion board (and a good web marketer would’ve probably done that for the positive linkbait it would be) but that felt, well, like a late-night TV commercial… I’m not selling a flowbee or a slapchop, in fact I’m not selling anything.

I was motivated by the piece of paper. I never really thought about it, but I was engaged because of the carrot at the end of the stick. Despite how ultimately worthless another piece of paper is, I wanted it. What can I say? I don’t have enough trophies in my life I guess.

It was interesting to see how many of the people I follow were part of the EDCMOOC – however that didn’t seem to generate any discussion outside of the discussion boards.

I wonder what would happen if all students rejected the peer marking approach. Is that the fault-line that no one will talk about?

EDCMOOC Week 5 – Digital Artifact

I’ve levelled my criticism of the course on twitter, mostly that I think the 99% of things in between education dystopia or utopian scenarios are far more interesting than exploring the margins. However, I’m a sucker for a certificate, maybe that speaks to the underlying need for acceptance and acknowledgement. Enough self analysis for one day, here’s my artifact.

EDCMOOC Project/Artifact from Jon Kruithof on Vimeo.

For accessibilty issues, I didn’t have time to caption the video, but the script is here:

So you want to talk about technology in education, seeing if it meets your needs for utopia, or dystopia. We could examine the benefits of how each technological advances changes or reinforces education.

We could look at the ways we teach better today with technology, or reinforce the same power system that keep us teaching in a manner that we were taught. Maybe that’s right?

Or maybe the conversation should be about finding the words to describe how we’re going to make education better tomorrow. Maybe it’s about taking time to think and act on how ways we can affect change and make education better. More like one’s utopian concept rather than what education currently is.

I typically get asked how long it takes to do these sorts of things – this one minute video took about 12 hours to construct from writing the script, fine tuning words, finding creative commons licensed images and video, creating the title screens in Photoshop and Gimp, selecting a typeface, working with the images and finally putting it together in Windows Movie Maker. Yes, Windows Movie Maker is a great free program for stitching together videos. I created the music using Fruity Loops, there’s demos out there and the software has a good academic/student license.

EDCMOOC Week 1 – Utopia/Dystopia

I think it’s ironic that the course begins with a dichotomous exchange – let’s face it. Utopia and Dystopia claims are usually stretched so far as to entertain or serve some other pop culture needs. In fact, utopia is rarely dealt with in sci-fi because it’s inherently boring because it lacks conflict – except in the case of Star Trek where harmonious living exists on Earth, just not in outer space… which speaks to empire and other imperialist machinations.

Anyways, I’m surprised to see this relationship in regards to education – where usually we’re navigating the 99% between the polar opposites of the extremes. I sit in the middle with most of these online tools, where how they are used, and intended to be used, is much more important than the potential ways they could be used. Education should be associated with the same things that utopia is associated with – filled with hope, a sense of better things to come. The reality is that perhaps education has become something dystopian – filled with dread, anxiety; crushed by authoritarian, herded like cattle into a room and treated as if one were a (student) number. At least in first year…

Is that because of the education system? Or the shift from education as a human interest to an economic interest? I think society as a whole has shifted from a society focused to an individual focused entity, which is in some part, due to neoliberalism. Recognizing that, and doing something about it is a whole different ballgame I suppose.

The ironic thing is that the course is presented in what might be the ultimate forum for data acquisition (a Fordian notion of efficiency, quantifying what is done, and justifying what you do)  – Coursera’s platform for MOOCs. The underlying subtext of the first week was certainly exploring the idea of utopia, and in my opinion, you have to relate it back to what is happening within the course context – it’s a course about education online. Putting the pieces together, perhaps the designers are saying this is not such a good way to run a course…