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Elite education for the masses

Elite education for the masses
They included Patrycja Jablonska in Poland, Ephraim Baron in California, Mohammad Hijazi in Lebanon and many others far from Baltimore who ordinarily would not have a chance to study at the elite Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They logged on to a Web site called Coursera and signed up. They paid nothing for it. These students, a sliver of the more than 1.7 million who have registered with Coursera since April, reflect a surge of interest this year in free online learning that could reshape higher education. The phenomenon puts big issues on the table: the growth of tuition, the role of a professor, the definition of a student, the value of a degree and even the mission of universities. “Massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, have caught fire in academia. “I can’t use another word than unbelievable,” Caffo said. For universities, the word for it is revolutionary. MOOC students, for the most part, aren’t earning credit toward degrees. But it is alluring. Giving it away

"The Danger of the Single Story" About Digital Immigrants and Natives EDC MOOC Week 1 Reading "Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives": Prensky warns ‘immigrant’ teachers that they face irrelevance unless they figure out how to adapt their methods and approaches to new generations of learners. When reading this paper, try to identify the strategies that Prensky uses to make his argument - how does the language he uses work to persuade the reader? Who are ‘we’ and who are ‘they’? What associations do you have with the idea of the ‘native’ and the ‘immigrant’, and how helpful are these in understanding teacher-student relationships? My father is 78 years old. Fast forward to the late 90s. Where I'm getting at with my family anecdotes about digital connections is that in the United States, when we are afraid to call things as they are, we make up all these colorful euphemisms, so we make people feel better about themselves. Unfortunately too many K-12 teachers in the United States fear the politics and seek asylum remaining in a colorless analog world.

The Twitter Revolution Must Die Have you ever heard of the Leica Revolution? No? That’s probably because folks who don’t know anything about “branding” insist on calling it the Mexican Revolution. An estimated two million people died in the long struggle (1910-1920) to overthrow a despotic government and bring about reform. But why shouldn’t we re-name the revolution not after a nation or its people, but after the “social media” that had such a great impact in making the struggle known all over the world: the photographic camera? My sarcasm is, of course, a thinly veiled attempt to point out how absurd it is to refer to events in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere as the Twitter Revolution, the Facebook Revolution, and so on. “… I am glad that Tunisians were able to utilize social media to bring attention to their plight. Both sides are, perhaps, engaging in a bit of technological determinism–one by embellishing the agency of technology, the other by diminishing it. [Ulises A.

Five Emotions Invented By The Internet A vague and gnawing pang of anxiety centered around an IM window that has lulled. During this time an individual feels unsure whether they have offended the IM recipient, committed a breach of IM etiquette, or have otherwise spoilt the presentation of themselves carefully crafted thus far thanks to the miracles of the textual medium. The individual must be at least vaguely aware that they are being vaguely paranoid, and must tell themselves things like ‘he probably just stepped away from the keyboard’ or ‘I know she is at work right now so perhaps she has stopped replying because she is busy.’ This sentiment of anxiety must surface only after an extremely brief lapse in the pace of the conversation [range of ~30 seconds to 1 minute], and the individual must tell themselves things like ‘it has only been like a minute, don’t worry.’ A sudden and irrational rage in response to reading an ‘@-reply’ on Twitter. Check out the author’s book “Breathing Machine: A Memoir of Computers” here.

Utopia, dystopia, technology, education and MOOCs Despite the massive number of participants, I’ve actually found #edcmooc a relative oasis of calm and tranquility. Mind you I haven’t explored far in the google and facebook groups/forums. Certainly the design of the course is much more traditional and individually focussed than #oldsmooc. The main content (so far videos and suggested texts which I’ve started to curate here is in the Coursera VLE. There are the usual additional online spaces of a wiki, twitter, Facebook and google groups. #edcmooc is also running alongside the Msc module and the staff are very upfront about their involvement in the MOOC: “We will be commenting on course organisational issues, and other matters which get voted up in the forums. So unlike #oldsmooc, with that upfront statement some of my strategies for successful MOOC-ing might not work The final assessment is the creation of a digital artefact which will be peer assessed. I’ve collated some of the responses to this tweet in this storify. Noble.

MOOC-HING about I'm doing a MOOC on e-learning and digital cultures, as well as two other MOOCs (philosophy and astrobiology) and now find myself pontificating on the nature of MOOCs. It's kinda meta-MOOCing which is hard! What does it mean to be open? What difference does it make that the course is online? One of the MOOCs I'm doing (astrobiology) because I'm interested in the topic, because I'm preparing two papers for a colloquium and hopefully paper-based publishing, and because (and kind of as an afterthought) it intersects with something I teach on paleoclimate. Two of the MOOCs are a straight transfer from trad ed to web with vid lectures and quizzes. As I intimated before, the videos at least can inspire. But most MOOCs for now run well short of this, learning in a small class with a mixture of modes (my class I have for 10 months is 15 this year). But the e-learning and digital cultures MOOC is something more, a level up. Ok, I'm rambling now - but I do think MOOCs have a future.

EDC MOOC News | from the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc eLearning and Digital Cultures: Block One. Utopias and Dystopias. Week One: Looking to the past. Films and a bit of me Week one of a five week Coursera course on eLearning and Digital Cultures offered by the University of Edinburgh's Jeremy Knox, Sian Bayne, Hamish Macleod, Jen Ross, and Christine Sinclair. We have four short films to watch this week, around the theme of utopian/dystopian visions of the past. I jotted notes down as I watched each film. This is my first foray back into analysing cultural artefacts in a long while, and I am very much looking forward to taking part in this well thought out and structured short online course. It is massive, with a reported 40,000 people registered worldwide. In the meantime I very much enjoyed the four shorts, and found each one reminding me of many other films, videos, artists and alternative utopian/dystopian visions. I read the suggested articles on the bus to and from work today, and will likely return to them as I think more about technological determinism and elearning. Film 1: Bendito Machine 3 (2009) Film 2: Inbox (2012) Film 3: Thursday (7:34)

#edcmooc eLearning and Digital Cultures: A dystopian vision disturbing by its proximity. South Park, Over logging. Season 12 episode 6 (2008) There are many utopian and dystopian stories about technology told in popular films from Metropolis to the Matrix. Can you think of an example and describe or share it in the discussion board, on your blog, or on Twitter? I chose to talk about the Over Logging episode of South Park (season 12 episode 6, 2008), mainly because I re-watched it recently, it made me laugh, and it hits home a depressing message reflective of a mainstream reactionary response to in increasing reliance those of us privileged enough to have almost ubiqitous access to high speed internet connections have. Whilst I was thinking about writing this post I was also mulling over the classic 60s TV series The Prisoner, thinking about cult sci fi pastiche Dark Star, and original TV series of Star Trek. I avoided tackling this by choosing a South Park episode which is literally about the characters reaction to losing technology from everyday life. There is a detailed summary of the plot available.

why utopian/dystopian thinking is wrong-headed #edcmooc With some 40,000 others I have started on this Coursera MOOC on elearning and digital culture. The first unit deals with utopian and dystopian perspectives on technology. Is it really necessary to explain why this is not a worthwhile way to frame this conversation? If we brought someone from where I live in Western New York from 200 or 500 years ago, would they look upon our world as utopian? dystopian? When we think of the technologies that are the focus of this MOOC–the social web, mobile devices, etc. In other words, I think the utopian/dystopian business is a bit of boondoggle. This brings me to the MOOC itself.