The UPenn / Coursera / Al Fireis MOOC ModPo opens for another session next week. ModPo = Modern and Contemporary America Poetry. The 10-week course starts out with proto-modernists Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, then moves on through William Carlos Williams, the Imagists, Gertrude Stein, the Beats, and much more. Picasso and Marcel Duchamp get… Continue reading ModPo
This is an essay I wrote for the course Understanding learning in the online environment, which is part of Edinburgh's MSc Digital Education. Video has long been used to support classroom teaching. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that educators have been able to easily produce and distribute their own videos.… Continue reading Using storytelling in Philosophy teaching videos
I just finished doing a PGCert in Digital Education, and I thought I'd post a few of things I wrote for it here. This essay was written in April 2016 for the course Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning. A teacher in a secondary school classroom raises her voice above the chatter. “Ok everyone, settling down… Continue reading How should MOOC designers respond to student silence?
Standardisation Standardisation makes many administrative processes better. If people are submitting forms, it's easier to process those forms when they follow a standard design. If students want to find out the time and place of their lectures, they want that information in a standard way. Technology has a bias towards the pursuit of standardisation, partly… Continue reading Standards: sometimes good, sometimes bad
Car design Henry Ford famously dismissed listening to his customers, saying that if he'd bothered asking them, they'd have asked for faster horses. An early episode of The Simpsons riffed on this idea: Homer was brought into his brother's car company as a man of the people and asked to design exactly the kind of… Continue reading On listening
"Try again. Fail again. Fail better." A suitably morose quote from Samuel Beckett: you're always failing, but you can at least fail better than your previous failures. I think it's fair to say that modern education has a difficult relationship with failure. On the one hand, failure is and always has been a bad thing.… Continue reading The unbearable permanence of forums
This is adapted from a comment I left on The three biggest (perceived) problems with Open Badges by Doug Belshaw. I really like David Wiley's points about quality and OERs, and agree they apply equally well to badges. I think Timothy Freeman Cook makes good points about motivation and badges here, especially where he says "Let… Continue reading Issuing an Open Badge is easy, but making it valuable is hard