I missed this New York Times op-ed a few months back from John Markoff, who writes about computers and technology. It’s your standard MOOC media narrative — great change afoot, the potential to fix the education crisis, and so forth. One part stuck out, though:
Udacity, along with other MOOC designers, is moving rapidly away from the video lecture model of teaching toward an approach that is highly interactive and based on frequent quizzes and human “mentors” to provide active online support for students.
As I mentioned yesterday, Udacity heralds the death of the lecture on their website, and in the same sentence promotes mini-lectures, which are the same as lectures except sliced up. A sandwich doesn’t become filet mignon when you cut it into triangles, yet a lecture turns into best practices when captured to video and divided into segments. Continue reading →
I came across a great blog by Mark Sample, a literature and new media professor at George Mason University, looking at scaffolding, MOOCs, and MOOC pedagogy. I thought Dr. Sample’s argument was spot-on about the problems of attaching training wheels to coursework, but had trouble with his association with that as scaffolding, which I look at from Vygotsky or Bandura as an integral part of the student-teacher relationship, and is one of if not the most important function of a teacher. I might not be Laura Riding as far as definitions and ambiguity are concerned, but I feel like in order to have discussions about a topic we all need to define like terms before looking at points of contention. I responded to Dr. Sample’s blog, but thought the write-up summarized the difference between classic and contemporary instruction fairly well, so am putting it here too. Continue reading →