The limits of university teaching


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Among the practices which have emerged through the New Lecturers Programme in 2011-12, there are three that test the limits to online learning:

massive open on-line courses (moocs),
virtual conferences as a means of assessment, and
distributed collaboration as a means of working in learning sets.

Taken together, these practices allow us to examine the role of the university and to re-imagine a place for institutions in a world where openness, access and community have come to underpin academic knowledge.

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The limits of university teaching

  1. 1. Testing the limits of university teaching MOOCs, Multimedia and Distributed Collaboration George Roberts 26/06/2012
  2. 2. Limits of navigation• MOOCs• Multimedia for assessment• Distributed collaboration
  3. 3. Audiographic Simulcast• Blackboard Collaborate in use
  4. 4. Matters affecting UVa• It is not that we ignore web-based and internet technologies at our peril… In truth, we ignore the traditional university at our peril. (M Roberts 2012)
  5. 5. Superposition of randomness• superposition of randomness leading to a transforming experience
  6. 6. Related randomness?• Identity• Community• Literacy• Three topics: – MOOCs – Academic Multimedia – Distributed Collaboration
  7. 7. MOOCsMassive Open Online CoursesOld MOOCs, new MOOCs, redMOOCs blue MOOCs
  8. 8. Old MOOCs from 2008• Explicit pedagogical perspective – Social constructivist, dialogic, actor networks• Distributed, open source platform components – Wikis, WordPress, Moodle• Intentional social media conversations – Twitter, Facebook, Blogs• Open challenge to institutions – Access, environment, IPR, assessment
  9. 9. New MOOCs from 2011• Tacit pedagogical perspective – Instructivist, pragmatic, realist, – Authentic: employment oriented• Consolidated platforms – Incidental social media• Institutional counter-position – Elite, neo-colonial (?)
  10. 10. Our MOOC• First Steps into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (FSLT12)
  11. 11. MOOC Problematics• Old MOOC – Navigation, chaos, disorientation, exposure, tuitio n• New MOOC – Packaging, automation, two-tier• All MOOCs – Motivation
  12. 12. MOOC benefits• Old MOOC – Autonomy• New MOOC – Authority• All MOOC – Access, authenticity
  13. 13. MOOC Limits• Identity – Embodiment – Preference: introversion extroversion• Community – Serendipity• Literacy – Genre, paralinguistics
  14. 14. Multimedia for AssessmentPost-Text Problematics: Social Citationand Valorisation of Knowledge
  15. 15. Presentations to virtual conferences • Diverse practice – Audio enhanced • Some excellent – But, some 2000 word essays on 12 ppt slides • Markers unfamiliar with the genre – What is scholarship in this medium?
  16. 16. Other Multimedia Assessment Examples• Video essays – Sustained inquiry• Multimedia learning journals – Reflective collection• Audio feedback
  17. 17. Valorisation of knowledge
  18. 18. Multimedia scholarshipIn 2003, Stephen Downes wrote• multimedia computing … provides scholarly discourse with great opportunities, but also problematizes that discourse (Ingraham, 2000)• large bodies of continuous text … are likely to remain the primary medium for the dissemination of scholarship (Ingraham & Bradburn, 2003)• the electronic book is likely to become the primary medium … for the dissemination of text-mediated scholarly discourse (Ingraham & Bradburn, 2003a), [and] disseminating educational multimedia. But, let’s have a look at Downes 2003
  19. 19. Multimedia assessment limits• Community – Traditions of the disciplines• Identity – Our scholarly selves• Literacy – The Genre is new – The links degrade, coping with transience
  20. 20. Distributed-collaborative learning setsBeing together in the body
  21. 21. Distributed Learning Sets• Explicit Intended Outcome – As a group produce a seminar addressing a current issue in higher education learning and teaching• Tacit Intended Outcome – Discover ways to work as a group, which allow for distributed collaboration: across the three Brookes campuses and several other universities
  22. 22. Distribution in two waysIn small groups to collaborate inproduction of the seminars – Forums, email, Google Docs, wikiIn Plenary to attend/review sessions – Matterhorn Lecture Capture + Podcast Producer
  23. 23. Distribution issuesSmall groups – Defaulted to Face to face • Disadvantage the minorityPlenary – Groups focused on own performances – Low attention/attendance to other groups seminars • Substantial curriculum input missed
  24. 24. A controlled classroomenvironment isn’t a bad thing. (Krauss 2012)
  25. 25. Distributed Collaboration Limits• Identity – We know ourselves in the reflection of others• Community – Cohesion through diversity• Literacy – Paralinguistics
  26. 26. Discussion• Turn to the person beside you – or to the chat stream in Collaborate• In light of: MOOCs, Multimedia and Distributed Collaboration• Where are your limits of navigation?
  27. 27. TechnologyDisruptive?
  28. 28. QUESTION: If SOPA/PIPA [or theDigital Economy Act in the UK] hadbeen passed into U.S. law in2002, would Wikipedia exist today?If either law had passed in2012, would Wikipedia exist in 2022?Why or why not? Discuss.
  29. 29. If you cannot answer that question, you are not literate nor are you in control of yourlife—even if you think you are.
  30. 30. Watersheds?• Narrative ? > 50,000 years• Writing c. 5,000 years• Printing c. 500 years• Perspective c. 500 years• Steam c. 250 years• Mass literacy c. 150 years• Cinema c. 100 years• Internet c. 35 years
  31. 31. Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter, Perugino, 1481
  32. 32. Discourses around higher education are: “… a field of competition for the legitimate exercise of symbolic violence,… an arena of conflict between rival principles of legitimacy, andcompetition for political, economic and cultural power (Bourdieu 1993, 121)
  33. 33. Literacy - including digital - isthe practice of enunciation in a community: “speaking” in the broadest sense, projecting an identity with, through and to others who concur
  34. 34. digital literacy cannot be separated from othereducational - or social, or economic, or political - developments.
  35. 35. Digital literacy is far more than skills with keyboard & apps. It is how we & our students negotiate theICT-mediated frontier between rival principles.
  36. 36. Limits of navigation• MOOCs – Radical openness is not for everyone• Multimedia for assessment – Text citation and commentary asserts itself through every fissure• Distributed collaboration – We crave – and are good at – contact
  37. 37. Thank you Dr George RobertsOCSLD, Oxford Brookes University June 2012