Monday, February 18, 2013

Imperial MOOCs: Should We Be Worried?

Throughout this blog, I have tried to differentiate my experience in EDCMOOC and my experiences teaching in a capped, online course. While there are similarities, there are obvious differences. 
One significant difference I see is the MOOCs "coverage." While most online courses are offered through universities (to which students have to apply for admission [regardless of the specific admission standards], register for the class, and pay tuition and fees; there is, in other words, a gatekeeper), MOOCs are currently open to anyone - registration takes but a few moments. There are no gate keepers: in this sense, MOOCs are open to everyone and anyone who is willing to abide by the rules. In this sense, the openness of the MOOC is both appealing and utopian: anyone, anywhere, can receive the education offered.

The more I consider the utopian rhetoric of MOOC ambassadors, the reach and scope of the MOOC, and the audience (whether intended or actual), I grow increasingly concerned with levels of access to the technology and what that (lack of) access means to non-Western cultures. Like the British Empire - on which the sun never set - will the MOOCs' influence also never set. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Human Touch in the Online Course

This week's MOOC readings introduced us to the idea of "human touch" and asked whether or not technology allows us to "reassert the human." In "Heart to Heart," a commercial for BT, two sons worry about their mom - first, they talk to one another (and their mom) through chat, and then one son calls his mom and talks with her over the telephone.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

MOOCs in the News: Uptopian and Dystopian

The MOOC received a decent amount of attention this week in United States' non-academy focused media: Salon's Andrew Leonard proclaimed "The Internet will not ruin college," and Slate's Will Oremus wrote an article about the "MOOC Meltdown" where an "Online Class on How To Teach Online Classes Goes Laughably Awry." Thomas Friedman, in the New York Times, discussed the revolution that is the MOOC, and not surprisingly, academics responded (mostly negatively) to his comments through letters to the editor.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Responding to Online Students - How Do We Tell Them They've Made a Mistake?

Unlike my other three posts that address the E-Cultures and Digital Learning MOOC I'm participating in, this post is more practical in nature, and is a reflection on something that happened this week in the online course I'm teaching. I welcome feedback (criticism and otherwise) to this situation.

This semester, I'm teaching a cross-listed (not only graduate and undergraduate, but also interdisciplinary) course on race, gender, and professional and technical writing. The course covers not only race and gender theory but also technical writing theory - which for many of my students is new, and like many theoretical undertakings can be difficult to maneuver.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Technological Dystopias and Education

This week's main post addressed the dystopia of technology: the ways in which it can take over our lives; our willingness to worship it regardless of the negative consequences to ourselves, our environment, or other people; and its ability to dictate what types of information we get.