I’ve been reading several articles suggested by the ConnectedCourses.net. I’ve quoted a few ideas below that begin to define my thinking in response.
The principles of connected learning suggest “student experiences of social connection, self-expression, relevance, and interests … are at the core of connected learning.” Describing the Why of Connected Learning
“Learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as songs came unbundled from CDs.”
“Demand for knowledge is so enormous that good, free online materials can attract extraordinary numbers of people from all over the world”
“The audience for education [is] people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system…”
“It’s possible to educate a thousand people at a time, in a single class, all around the world, for free”
Napster, Udacity, and the Academy by Clay Shirky
Much like Clay Shirky’s example of listening to live musicians vs recorded music, how do we reproduce the individual feedback of an expert when we are learning? If you define teaching as content presentation, then offering the lectures of fascinating experts is much like listening to recorded music, valuable and inspiring, and often better than many faculty could provide. We can provide focus questions and examples of possible responses. We can automate feedback on exams. We can provide activities that support student learning by having them produce and do authentic problem solving. Peer and self assessment techniques can be a valuable means of supporting learning.
How can we “unbundle” teaching from content presentation and certification? Quality teaching is about helping individual students in particular make connections among concepts, giving feedback on student products, diagnosing difficulties with learning, facilitating the conversation among a community of co-learners, supporting peer collaboration, providing direct instruction in response to student questions in the moment … How many students can one teacher teach?
We can now provide open access to organized content and continue to improve that access. How can we provide a space for thousands of learners to become a commons – a community of practice/inquiry – for peer collaboration and individual feedback from an expert? We know meaningful connection to a faculty member/mentor matters to students’ success. How do we make it possible to also teach to the many?