Talking with Howard Rheingold

Last week the great internet visionary and writer Howard Rheingold and I discussed technology, education, and the future.  We thought about MOOCs, going to college, liberal education, academic labor, online discussion, my Math Emporium analogy, the possibility of creating a new cMOOC, and more:

MOOCs, Hype, and the Precarious State of Higher Ed: Researcher, Educator, and Futurist Bryan Alexander from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

As always Howard asks the fine questions and offers elegant formulations of challenging topics.  Give it a listen (or watch) and see where our conversation takes you.

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8 Responses to Talking with Howard Rheingold

  1. eromanme says:

    Great conversation.

    Regarding the issue of TAs or adjuncts helping out in MOOCs, another important issue is how to coordinate their work. I took a Spanish MOOC to see how it was set up–yes, I am one of the many MOOC-lurkers out there–, and some of the volunteers who were correcting grammar had not even read the guidelines posted by the main teacher, which resulted in inconsistencies between the feedback they were giving to students and the “rules” posted by the lead teacher. This training is even more crucial in courses where the level of students´ previous knowledge is very different. TAs may be prepared to offer help to beginners but not to advanced learners.

    And one little thing, did you want to mean the Math Emporium at Virginia Tech?

    Greetings from DC!

  2. Kate says:

    Sign me up for your Infoucoult MOOC, Bryan.

  3. Greetings, eromanme. Yes, adjunct coordination is already a growing function in higher ed, so we should expect to see a similar need in the MOOC world as those courses expand.
    And yes, I meant the Math Emporium. Did I say something other? yikes!

  4. I’d love to run an Infocult MOOC, Kate. Do you think there’s enough interest?

  5. eromanme says:

    I think you mentioned it was at Georgia Tech, not Virginia Tech. I may have heard wrong or maybe there is also one there?


  6. Whoops! I must have had… Georgia on my mind.

  7. I’m a little late to this party, but I had to wait for the Stanley Cup to start to distract my husband! I use baseball and hockey season to catch up on interesting online presentations such as this one.

    As a “DS 106-er 4 Life,” I wasn’t clear on the two MOOC definitions, so I thank you for your clear delineation.

    MOOCs are very controversial on my Lane Community College (Eugene, OR) campus. The overwhelming concerns are the two you identify: the adjunctification of the professoriate and the Wal Martization of so-called higher ed. I don’t know the answer, but at the community college, students come in overwhelmingly underprepared…I teach writing, so my concern is basic literacy. Is there a MOOC that wouldn’t burden them with more debt that would actually improve their literacy, their ability to build a basic English sentence?

    Huge numbers of my students can’t even run Word, etc. etc. fill in the blank…if they could get online, why shouldn’t a Wal Mart education experience pick up this massive amount of remedial slack? I’m for it; I just can’t imagine it.

    Excellent duscussion. Bryan, you always make me feel smart! Thank you.
    Sandy Brown Jensen

  8. Pingback: Education vs Technology – what we fear divides us | All Things Moocable

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