So far: this first week sets a historical context for the future. Professor Cathy Davidson focuses on media history, with an emphasis on history of the book. She sees this as “a purposive, activist history”, one aimed at informing and eliciting action from us, the audience/participants/learners/educators. “We don’t see this just as a MOOC but as a movement”, says the opening text.
Platforms: most of the class lives on a Coursera instance. This includes: a stack of videos; optional readings; the entirety of her recent book, Now You See It; triggered quizzes;a discussion forum; peer assessment information. There is also a Twitter hashtag, #FutureEd, which has some conversation, and a microsite on the HASTAC site.
Content: the first week sets the stage by quickly exploring the history of information revolutions. Davidson does a fine job of removing the stodgy, conservative status of inherited media. She emphasizes the history of media panics over each new medium, and the unseemly content each purveys. So this futures course begins with a grounding in historical thinking: excellent.
There are some inspirational parts, like the story about Yale’s resistance to the blackboard, or Davidson’s great question: “Are we [educators] preparing young people for their future or our past?” And she attacks xMOOCs: “The relationship between MOOCs and open learning is antagonistic”. She celebrates peer learning as a feature of online citizenship. I wish she’d mention cMOOCs, though. Davidson also hosts a fine section interviewing local people on their most influential teachers. So there’s an interesting tension between the xMOOC platform and Davidson’s cMOOC spirit. Maybe this is the first insurgent xMOOC, criticizing from within.
I’m looking forward to discussions, people, and learning.