Reflecting on Martin Weller's "cottage industry of 25 years of __" on the history of online learning, Alan Levine delivers us a dose of the real thing in this article, including even some original x-ray specs (pictured). Readers may recall that I responded to Weller's original '25 years' post with my own version of 25 years of ed tech.
This is actually three posts in one. In the first part, Michael Feldstein disagrees with the view that residential education will shrink or disappear post-pandemic, but suggests "we’re going to see a growth in various forms of blended and low-residency educational experiences." In the second part he references Jeffrey R. Young’s Pandemic Campus Diaries podcast series and argues that our understanding of 'cheating' should be redefined, explaining "the web of social learning in residential education is vast and varied (and) largely invisible to professors and administrators." Translation: frats and rez students help each other cheat, so we may as well make this available online to every one else as well. Finally, in the third part he references a presser about Coursera founders Daphne Koller and Dan Avida's new company Engageli's announcement that it has raised $14.5 million in seed funding "to develop a new platform for remote instruction." If anyone would like to invest $14.5 million in me to develop a better online learning platform, just let me know, and we'll talk.
Vicki Abeles writes, "Instead of forcing students and teachers to replicate their usual routines online, let them explore more creative paths." This makes a lot of sense to me. She writes, "For decades, our school system has been centered on rote memorization, performance, and measurement, rather than authentic, meaningful learning... what author and education expert Alfie Kohn calls 'an elaborate sorting device, intended to separate wheat from chaff.' A race to nowhere." That's not really going to work this year. So let's try something new while we have a year fallow.
Language is cultural. I know I shouldn't have to say that, but it bears repeating, because we need to have this in mind when reading this article (and, at the same time, a similar one from a couple of years ago recommended today by Pocket). Look at the words from the first article (like, just, you know, feel) and the verbs from the second (think, need, want, guess, hope, suppose). When I looked at this list of words, the first thing I thought of was, "that's how Barack Obama speaks." Do you think these make you look weak? Or do you think - like I do - that their use signals a culture of empathy and thoughtfulness? It's up to you, as always, but just be aware of the choice you're making, and be aware of advice that programs default values like 'not being weak' into your thinking.
This is the follow-up post to the Wittgenstein's Revenge post previously cited. "The problem in modern public discourse is not that we disagree on the facts," writes Mike Elias. "Instead, we lack a common 'epistemic currency.'" What is this currency? He argues that it's 'trust'. "Epistemic reserve notes thus represent trust in the publisher... Articles are promises that if you do your own research, you’ll reach the same conclusions that the publisher claims in its articles." A problem with trust, though, is that it is too easily counterfeited by bad actors. But as a commenter says, "even more problematic is the fact we use an economic metaphor to define, perceive, and act upon ‘truth’." The logic of markets isn't going to replace the logic of, um, logic.
I think there's a really good point in this article, though it's a little bit buried. So let me draw it out : through the crises of 2020 - global warming and fires, the coronovirus, social justice issues, and the plague of disinformation - the core failures have not been in science and technology, but rather, in social and human skills. To be sure, we expect science and technology to be deployed to address these and other issues, but it does no good if people won't listen to them or use them. That is why it is a mistake for governments like those in Australia and New Brunswick (two examples mentioned in this article) to focus exclusively on STEM education, even to the point of imposing a penalty on those who choose other fields. That's why OECD's student assessment program has begun assessing global competence. That's why "complex comprehension of history and literature and the nature of truth (are) particularly important... In the age of Black Lives Matter, rising Indigenous activism and substantial public engagement we need to educate people to take responsible action toward collective well-being."
This short post vividly explains why I think about knowledge the way I do. "I still more or less believed what I'd learned at M.I.T. in the 1970s era of classical AI, which saw pattern recognition as applied logic. The basic idea was to recognize all the relevant traits, and then apply an Aristotelian taxonomy to make the classification. But I'd found, along with everyone else, that this didn't really work, among other things because it's at least as hard to recognize the relevant traits as to recognize the final category." Exactly! That's why I'm critical of taxonomies in education research, critical of things like competency definitions, critical of learning design. We're not teaching people what to know, we're teaching them how to see, which is a very different enterprise.
This is another variation on the course-in-a-box concept we discussed last week. In this case the business communications open online course (OOC) was developed in PressBooks. So it is perhaps a bit less like a course and more like a book, though it does contain weekly lesson plans, sample assignments, videos, interactive H5P activities, PowerPoint slides, audio recordings, and readings, and the idea of the fully self-contained open online course is there. This post describes the process of creating the course, including a list of the major steps involved (which, if you're planning something similar, could easily be adapted to create your project plan and timeline).
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.
Copyright 2020 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.