Tag Archives: creative writing

A creative writing MOOC to reclaim MOOCs

One of the earliest problems with the MOOC phenomenon was discord:  on one side there were distance/online education scholars devoted to digital learning as a transformative opportunity, on the other AI and Machine Learning mavens (whose models focused on the Tech side of EdTech) who were largely unaware of existing methods and progress and saw EdTech as a mechanism of convenience/ease/economy.  MOOC was a term borne of experimentation and cutting-edge theory, a background it lost once MOOC became synonymous with LMS-based content streams.

One year ago, focused on the disparity between the freedom of the original MOOC and the limitations of the Frankenstein’s Monster MOOC built of venture capital and buttressed institutions, I made a call for scholars to step back from fighting for the MOOC monicker.

Today, I am announcing a course I will lead in collaboration with Canvas network and a slew of writers, educators and scholars, scheduled to launch in January 2015.  It’s a course about establishing tangible and repeatable creative writing practices  (#cwmooc), built around the development and drafting of the written word.  It will look very little like the MOOCs of Udacity/Coursera/edX.  But it is a MOOC.  And I am not shying away from calling it such.

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A Lack of Female Authors, Heterogeneous Authors, & Pedagogy

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David Gilmour utilizes his homegrown brand of pedagogy to provide riveting instruction to students. Photo via Brett Gundlock/National Post

Canadian author David Gilmour found himself in an Internet brouhaha this week in regards to an interview he provided for Hazlitt, an online magazine promoted by Random House of Canada.  The interview is about the books adorning his shelves, and…well, it’s best to quote rather than paraphrase:

I’m not interested in teaching books by women…when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women. Except for Virginia Woolf. And when I tried to teach Virginia Woolf, she’s too sophisticated, even for a third-year class. Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.

Response has been passionate and plentiful, almost entirely upset with Gilmour’s seemingly misogynistic and homogeneous comments.  Interestingly enough, the comment section on the Hazlitt page is almost complete condemnation of Gilmour and his interview (author’s note:  the comments section has since become like most comment sections, a series of trolls and profanity-laced semantic debates, really devaluing the initial responses).  Gilmour has issued an attempt at a mea culpa through the National Post, claiming that he is not a misogynist, though…ah heck, it’s still best to cite rather than paraphrase:

It’s got nothing to do with any nationality, or racism, or heterosexuality. Those were jokes by the way. I mean, I’m the only guy in North America who teaches Truman Capote, and Truman Capote was not what you’d exactly call a real heterosexual guy. So I really don’t know what this is about. And this is a young woman who kind of wanted to make a little name for herself, or something, because when I said “real heterosexual guys” I’m talking about Scott Fitzgerald [and] Scott Fitzgerald was not what you’d call a real guy’s guy, a real heterosexual guy. (emphasis mine)

There are plenty of people handling the privileged white male reading of this whole issue.  I see another layer to this situation regarding Gilmour’s views on education and teaching. Continue reading