Heading into my new class

This week I started teaching my first class since 2002.  I’d like to blog about the experience.

In this post I’ll describe what I hope to achieve with the class: how I’m organizing it and what I expect.  I’ll add the syllabus at the end.  (Here’s a post introducing the class.)

The topic is the future of education, so we’ll approach this from multiple perspectives.  Readings cover education (of course), economics, demographics, technology, and futures work, along with science fiction visions of the future.  Classwork will be discussion heavy, since it’s a seminar.  Students will also create a future campus of their own devising.

One principle I hope to establish is classroom democracy.  I plan on giving the students a lot of say in how the class will work.  I set up the syllabus, but have given them room to pick readings and one week’s topic (see below).  Together we’ll craft a set of norms for class interaction.  As ever, I want to honor student views, experience, and interests, as they are not only contributors to class, but its co-creators.  Students will also help determine our technology setup.  (Our reading of Freire and Horton is definitely in my mind)

Speaking of technology: the default situation is that I will lead one live class per week over video from wherever I am (Vermont or traveling), while the students gather in a conference room on Georgetown’s campus.  I may make it to campus once or twice, depending on logistics.

Kennedy Brothers conference room

The space from where I’ll be teaching.

More on technology: the asynchronous part of the class can draw on a wide range of tech, so I’ve picked out this set for students to choose from:

Canvas (the official campus LMS)
Discourse (nice discussion board tech; would plug into a WordPress instance)
Domain of One’s Own (Georgetown already has this set up)
Email (for communication and also Google Alerts)
Hypothesis
RSS readers (thinking of introducing Feedly and Inoreader)
Instagram (will need a class hashtag)
Twitter (” ” ” ” “)
WordPress (either a single class blog or each student with their own blog)

I plan to present the use case for each, along with advantages and disadvantages, then see where the students would like to go.  I prepped a class blog, just in case.

One technology theme for them to explore is openness, both as a general idea in education as well as a practical one for their own work.  How much I can share about the class – including here, on this blog – is going to largely be up to them.

OK, here’s the syllabus.  I’ll follow up in another post with how the first class actually went.

September 5

Topic: introductions and models

  • What are our backgrounds and interests?
  • How should this class best proceed? Class norms and practices.
  • How does higher education function?
  • Our current information and technology practices.

September 12

Topic: higher education and the future

Readings:

  1. Tressie McMillan Cottom, “The Education Gospel” (introduction to Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy)
  2. Alexander, “Apprehending the Future: Emerging Technologies, from Science Fiction to Campus Reality” (https://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/5/apprehending-the-future-emerging-technologies–from-science-fiction-to-campus-reality)
  3. “Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition” (https://library.educause.edu/resources/2018/8/2018-nmc-horizon-report)

Forecasting method: Delphi

September 19

Topic: how higher education works

Readings:

  1. Brian C. Mitchell and W. Joseph King, How to Run a College A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers, Introduction, chapters 1-6
  2. the past week from Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and selected blogs and Twitter feeds

Forecasting method: horizon scanning

September 26

Topic: the state of the art

Readings:

  1. Brian C. Mitchell and W. Joseph King, How to Run a College A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers , chapters 7-9
  2. Vernor Vinge, “Fast Times at Fairmont High”
  3. the past week from Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and selected blogs and Twitter feeds

Forecasting method: horizon scanning

October 3

Topics: narrating the future of education

Readings:

  1. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, “Scenarios for the Future of Schooling” (https://www.oecd.org/site/schoolingfortomorrowknowledgebase/futuresthinking/scenarios/38967594.pdf)
  2. Stanford 2025 (http://www.stanford2025.com/; scroll down)
  3. Nathan D. Grawe, Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, chapters 1-3

Forecasting method: scenarios

MID-TERM PROJECT DUE: Trends analysis, 700-1000 words.

October 10

Topic: the impact of population changes

Reading: Nathan D. Grawe, Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, chapters 4-11

Student readings: two TBD

October 16

Topic: education and technology

SPECIAL CLASS FORMAT: joint meeting with Learning and Design – 502.01, Technology and Innovation in Higher Education class (NOTE THE DATE CHANGE)

Readings:

  1. Isaac Asimov, “The Fun They Had”
  2. Martin Weller, 25 Years of EdTech (http://blog.edtechie.net/category/25yearsedtech/)
  3. Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race between Education and Technology, I

October 23

Topic: education and technology

SPECIAL CLASS FORMAT: joint meeting with Learning and Design – 502.01, Technology and Innovation in Higher Education class (NOTE THE DATE CHANGE)

Readings:

  1. Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race between Education and Technology, II
  2. Karl Schroeder, “Noon in the Antilibrary” (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611829/noon-in-the-antilibrary/)

Student readings: one TBD

October 31

Topic: education and technology

Reading: Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race between Education and Technology, concluded

Student readings: two TBD

MID-TERM PROJECT DUE: A strategy recommendation to a college or university of your creation, 700-1000 words.

November 7

Topic: race, gender, and profit in higher education

Reading: Tressie McMillan Cottom, the rest of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy

November 14

Topic: determined by student discussion and interest

Readings: Maria Sachiko Cecire, “Massively Open” (https://medium.com/@mscecire/massively-open-1f705cc61e70)

Student readings: four TBD

Final project discussion and planning

November 21 (Thanksgiving)

November 28

Topic: imagining higher education’s futures

Readings:

Forecasting method: science fiction

Final project discussion and planning

December 5

Topic: our futures of education

Final project presentations

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9 Responses to Heading into my new class

  1. Of course, if it were a democracy, the class members could have a vote and install their own leadership. But I guess that’s not happening. 😉

  2. mkt42 says:

    I’m glad to see Asimov’s “The Fun They Had” on the list, it’s been too-forgotten in these days of increasingly tech-heavy classrooms.

    I believe it was also Asimov (or was it Clarke) who wrote an amusing but less realistic short story about how a military researcher in a heavily computerized future gets a war-winning idea: train humans to do arithmetic, so instead of relying on expensive computers to calculate trajectories and navigate rocketships, have a human with a pencil and paper do the calculations!

    Asimov foresaw the ethical problems of what we might call paleobiological research in “The Ugly Little Boy”: researchers raise a live Neanderthal boy in a lab (IIRC they didn’t use DNA but instead a time machine to snatch a Neanderthal newborn back to the present). Eventually one of the researchers realizes the literal inhumanity of the project.

  3. I wonder what your students imagine higher ed to be. The experience will be interesting for all of you.

  4. Valerie Bock says:

    I would love to see your piece on the use case and advantages and disadvantages for each platform. It’s probably a bit of IP worth paying for. Do you plan to share it outside the class.

  5. Valerie Bock says:

    Sigh, no edit function. That last sentence was a question, despite the incorrect punctuation!

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  7. One more thing I wonder about: what is the optimal number of students for your class to be the most efficient?

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