by Stephen Downes
Aug 13, 2015
The Pedagogy Behind MOOCs: What eLearning Professionals Should Know
From the intro: "What are the peculiarities of designing an online course that addresses to such a big audience? What does it mean in terms of instructional design? And is there an ideal pedagogy behind MOOCs? In this article, I’ll explain the peculiarities of an instructional design for “massive” learning, the different pedagogical approaches behind xMOOCs and cMOOCs, and I’ll show you how to motivate your learners in order to maximize the effectiveness of your MOOC courses and minimize dropout rates."
The Coddling of the American Mind
Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt,
Actually, the best bit of this post is the list of common cognitive disorders at the end of the article, taken from Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J. F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn’s Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders (2012). The rest of the article is an extended argument to the effect that people who are opposed or sensitive to objectionable discourse should buck up and get tougher. It's not an exaggeration. They object, for example, to this case of microaggression: "I believe the most qualified person should get the job." This is a dog whistle, and people recognize it as such. From my perspective, the opposition to 'political correctness' is based on the desire of a certain subset of people to be boorish, offensive, racist and worse. No, you can't mandate a change in language. But you can demonstrate through personal and social policy that such language isn't tolerated in polite society. And the university, of all places, should be polite society. And - in my view - it's the increasing tolerance for boorish, offensive, racist and worse behaviour that signals the decline in American discourse, not the opposition to it.
Time For Change
Julia M. Stasch,
The president of the MacArthur Foundation announces a significant change of direction. "In the future, we will work primarily through programs and projects that are larger in scale, time-limited in nature, or designed to reach specific objectives. We will place less emphasis on program areas with an indefinite lifespan." Interestingly, this is exactly the change of direction my own employer understood a couple of years ago. And like the NRC, they are focusing on some flagship programs, in this case criminal justice in the U.S. and global climate change. In education, "The next step is to experiment with a new organizational model that can attract a more diverse set of partners and investors, explore alternative funding models and mechanisms, and accommodate a more entrepreneurial and innovative approach to achieving the ambitious goal of reimagining what learning is and how it is supported. This fall, we will launch a new, independent nonprofit whose goal is the scale and spread of the innovations developed by the many organizations we have supported."
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