Online Learning

Watchworthy Wednesday: New Series Features Extraordinary Women

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Comment Feminist Frequency

Emma Goldman was born in 1869 in Russia. When she was 15, her father tried to force her to get married and when she refused, he threw her French grammar book in the fire. At 16, she left her homeland, immigrating to the United States where she discovered her calling as a political revolutionary. Her story comes to life as narrated by Anita Sarkeesian, in this just-released video series, “Ordinary Women Daring to Defy History” by Feminist Frequency: “The Revolutionary Life of Emma Goldman” is the first of five videos in the series, telling the stories


Online Literacy and the College Learner: Transfer Research and Technology

Monday, February 01, 2016 Comment Students sitting in front of rows of computers facing projector screen

Recently, I wrote a post for DML Central about an online course that’s receiving unusually high course evaluations and is being offered by the Culture, Art, and Technology program at UC San Diego. It’s a course in which online literacy is both the form and the content of the assigned curriculum. The instructor, Alexandra Sartor, took time out from teaching for an interview with DML Central to talk about her experiences, teaching the course. She laughed about the fact that her ultimate achievement was probably having “almost no comments about the form of the course.” Despite the digital focus


What Failure? Supporting a Succeeding UC Online Course

Thursday, January 14, 2016 Comment UCSD webpage screenshot with students and professor in image

I’m certainly no starry-eyed uncritical worshipper of online learning. In fact, I have something of a reputation as a very frank critic, which was solidified with my book The War on Learning. This status as a skeptic is likely to be further reinforced with my new edited collection about “the MOOCs moment” that is slated to appear soon from the University of Chicago Press. So, it’s not surprising that I regularly get sent news items about bone-headed failures from people chortling about the obvious shortcomings of instructional technology in higher education. What has been disconcerting is


Teaching The Humanities Online

Monday, May 11, 2015 Comment Humanities HD banner covered in colorful digital pins

So many online courses concentrate on hard sciences and practical skills. How about the humanities? Laura Gibbs, who teaches two purely online courses for the University of Oklahoma, most certainly qualifies as a humanities enthusiast: Dr. Gibbs, who I first met as “OnlineCrsLady” via Connected Courses, teaches purely online courses about mythology and folklore and epics of ancient India.  Dr. Gibbs blogs in Latin, translated Aesop’s Fables for Oxford University Press, and her LOLcats in Latin is probably her biggest Internet meme claim to fame. She is proudest of “a huge collection of Aesop’s fables in


Why I Still Believe in Badges

Monday, March 31, 2014 Comment picture of stop sign with graffiti saying don't stop

“Badges are plots by for-profit institutions to disrupt state-funded higher education. It’s all about money and trying to turn a public good into a privatized for-profit revenue stream. You need to get your critical theory books out and read Marx.” — Anonymous philosophy professor   I have sympathy for those who see certain developments in technology as being fueled by dark, hidden forces aiming at nothing less than to overturn life as we know it. We certainly need to be cognisant of those seeking to enclose public good for private profit, and never more so than


MOOCs, Hype, and the Precarious State of Higher Ed: Futurist Bryan Alexander

Monday, June 10, 2013 Comment infographic showing the different negotiable meanings of the letters in MOOC

Does it continue to make sense to go to college when the sticker price of a college education is soaring, the amount of debt college students are taking on – even for the non-elite universities and what were formerly affordable public universities – is severely constraining their choices post-graduation, and job prospects for new graduates are dismal? A year ago, I talked with Anya Kamenetz, who delved into these issues in her book, DIY U. Since then, the ballyhooed arrival of free MOOCs into this frightening intersection of economic, intellectual, and social forces has ignited debate


Are MOOCs An Extension of Academic Publishing into Teaching?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Comment graphic of MOOCs network and extension into teaching and companies

Over the past few months, there has been a growing backlash against MOOCs. If you aren’t familiar with the term, massive open online courses — college courses that (for now) are free and will enroll anyone, generally without any restrictions on the size of a course — have been around in various forms for some time, but the term has gained wider exposure with the very public introduction of the for-profit MOOC startups Udacity and Coursera. These companies have advocated the ability of MOOCs to provide access to education to anyone with an Internet connection. As


Online Learning and Teaching Writing

Friday, September 21, 2012 Comment online learning bus parked outside of school

For whatever reason, discussions of online education are in the air. Cathy Davidson frequently writes about the challenges facing our education system on this blog, and when a consortium of top universities combined to create an online course initiative, it seemed that online education had grown past its infancy as was ready for mainstream acceptance. That initiative, Coursera, has clearly excited the public, as it now boasts over one million students taking free online courses. Yet it has not been without its critics. Recently, Adam F. Falk has argued that solutions like Coursera offer students an incomplete education


Global Transmedia MOOCs

Thursday, August 30, 2012 Comment group of people in purple room for mooc meeting

Nearly two years before Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun shook up educational institutions with their massive open online course on artificial intelligence, using videos, blogs, wikis, and online tests, photography educators Jonathan Worth, Matt Johnston, and Jonathan Shaw at Coventry University organized online classes for thousands of students in hundreds of cities, using blogs, podcasts, RSSfeeds, a Flickr group, an iPhone app, a Soundcloud group, and a Vimeo group, and hashtags (#phonar and #picbod). Phonar, the course on photography and narrative, and Picbod, the course on photography and the body, were open to third year Coventry


Bodies in Classrooms: Feminist Dialogues on Technology, Part I

Monday, August 06, 2012 Comment 2 girls intensely focussing on their hand held games

Next year, over a hundred feminist scholars are slated to teach a new kind of online course—the first “MDCLE” or “massively distributed collaborative learning experiment”—tentatively titled “Feminist Dialogues on Technology.”  Drawing on the model of the “MOOC,” or the massively open online course, like the artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction courses at Stanford that have enrolled tens of thousands of students, this venture is also aimed at a very large audience, although taught and thought through a feminist architecture and pedagogy.  With some start-up funding from the Mellon Foundation, Pitzer professor Alexandra Juhasz and University of