Mark McGure - Open Strategies in Design Education (Cumulus Dublin 8 Nov. 2013)


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Twitter: @mark_mcguire

In many countries, the increasing costs associated with higher education combined with reduced funding for public education during a period of fiscal restraint threatens the sustainability of current models of provision. Glenn Harlan Reynolds (2012) warns of a “Higher Education Bubble” in the United States. Sebastian Thrun, founder of, a for-profit platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), predicts that there will be only 10 institutions delivering higher education in 50 years (Steven Leckart, 2012). In contrast to these doomsday scenarios, Audrey Watters (2013) and others counter that professors and the institutions that employ them are not necessarily resistant to change, and that we should not “hack education” in a way that dismantles public institutions and threatens local economies, the community, social justice, and the public good.

In this presentation, I briefly trace the development of MOOCs and I discuss the differences between the high profile platforms that rely on lecture videos and machine marking (xMOOCs) and earlier experiments that follow what George Siemens refers to as a “Connectivist” approach (2005), which encourages participants to build their own personal learning network (cMOOCs). Using a case study method, I discuss three types of Design courses that leverage open strategies and serve as exemplars of “digital scholarship” (Martin Weller, 2011). The first, #Phonar (Photography and Narrative), is a Coventry University course that uses blogging and social media to connect place-based students to online participants. The second, ds106 (Digital Storytelling), is an online-only course offered by the University of Mary Washington that requires students to interact with one another and with the wider world through blogs, social media and an Internet radio station. The third, DOCC2013: Dialogues on Feminism and Technology, is a Distributed Open Collaborative Course that was offered for the first time in the fall of 2013 by fifteen universities in the United States and Canada, with academics working collaboratively across institutions.

I argue that by encouraging a paradigm shift in education from Push (broadcast) to Pull (accessing an archive) to Co-create (collaborative production) Design education can provide positive examples of how we can do more, and reach more, sustainably. Blurring the boundaries between teacher and student, online and offline, and formal and informal, education can enhance learning and extend its benefits beyond the lecture theatre and design studio. This pedagogical shift is in line with contemporary Design practice, in which collaborative and participatory processes are crucial, especially when working to solve wicked problems.

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Mark McGure - Open Strategies in Design Education (Cumulus Dublin 8 Nov. 2013)

  1. 1. Open Strategies in Design Education Cumulus Dublin 7-9 Nov. 2013 Dr Mark McGuire University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand Copenhagen Oct. 16-18 2008 Photo: Mark McGuire (CC-BY) email: Twitter: @mark_mcguire Blog: Dept.: Photo by gottanew CC-BY-NC-SA
  2. 2. Front Page, WSJ October 25, 2008 as the financial crisis spreads globally. Photo by MyEyeSees CC-BY-NC-SA
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
  6. 6. Glenn Harlan Reynolds “The Higher Education Bubble” 2012 My question is whether traditional academic institutions will be able to keep up with the times, or whether – as Anya Kamenetz suggests in her new book, DIY U – the real pioneering will be in online education and the work of “edupunks” who are more interested in finding new ways of teaching and learning than in protecting existing interests. “The upshot is that higher education is facing a major structural change over the next decade or so, and the full impact is likely to strike sooner than most people expect. Change is coming, and it is unlikely to be either modest or gradual.” Glenn Harlan Reynolds. “The Higher Education Bubble” Anya Kamenetz “DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education” 2010
  7. 7. Jon Kolko. 2012
  8. 8. Wicked Problems Social or cultural problems that are difficult or impossible to solve for 4 reasons: 1. incomplete or contradictory knowledge, 2. large number of people and opinions involved, 3. large economic burden, 4. interconnected nature of these problems with other problems + These problems are typically offloaded to policy makers. Jon Kolko. Wicked Problems. 2012 p. 11
  9. 9. “Introduction to MOOCs: Avalanche, Illusion or Augmentation?” by Barnaby Granger, UNESCO July 2013
  10. 10. cMOOCs
  11. 11. Massive Open Online Course > A participatory, distributed, open event > Working on a topic of shared interest > Engaging with other people’s work in a structured way > Making connections to other individuals and to their ideas > Construct a personal learning network for life-long learning > The building of a distributed knowledge base on the Net
  12. 12. Tony Bates: “Transforming teaching and learning through technology management” Change11 MOOC Live Session 16 October, 2011 Bates, A. W. T., & Sangra, A. (2011). Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning: Jossey-Bass.
  13. 13. Accessed 10 April, 2012
  14. 14. George Siemens by Stephen Downes 2009 (CC-BY) “Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.” George Siemens. “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” 2005
  15. 15. Stephen Downes by Stephen Downes 2011 (CC-BY) “At its heart, connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.” Stephen Downes. “What Connectivism Is” Feb. 3 2007
  16. 16. Stephen Downes by Stephen Downes 2011 (CC-BY) > A pedagogy supporting “learner autonomy in an open environment.” > Enables “engagement and activity within an authentic learning community — a community of practitioners, where people practice the discipline, rather than merely just talk about it.” Stephen Downes. (May 12 2010). The Role of the Educator.
  17. 17. xMOOCs
  18. 18. > Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig > “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” 2011 (through Stanford) > free, open enrollment, no recognized credits > 160,000 registrations from 190 countries, 23,000 completed
  19. 19. Udacity (Launched June 2011) (29 October, 2013)
  20. 20. (29 October, 2013)
  21. 21. (29 October, 2013) Coursera: Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, April 2012,US$16 million in venture capital
  22. 22. (29 October, 2013)
  23. 23. edX: April 2012, MIT & Harvard contribute US$30 million each (29 Oct. 2013)
  24. 24. iversity, Design 101 MOOC 26 Oct 2013
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
  27. 27. “Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.” A MOOC-based online master’s degree in computer science On-campus: $45,000; MOOC: $6,600 (Udacity gets 40% of the profits).
  28. 28. Stephen Downes by Stephen Downes 2011 (CC-BY) Stephen Downes on xMOOCs: “I think they are marvels of marketing and of the naivety of venture capitalists. Looking at the platforms from a technological point of view, I see virtually nothing innovative. These courses [reach] 100,000 or more people, but use video lectures and old-style threaded discussion lists. The idea of Moocs as an experiment in pedagogy and educational organisation has been completely abandoned by the new platforms, to the detriment of Moocs.” 17 October 2013. Times Higher Education. 2008180.fullarticle
  29. 29. George Siemens An Open Letter to Canadian Universities (July 6 2012): George Siemens by Stephen Downes 2009 (CC-BY) “Piecemeal outsourcing, growing prominence of adjuncts, and tendering key functions of the university (online course development), are creating a context where the university will no longer be able to direct its own fate.”
  30. 30. “[T]he whole history of private involvement in public education has been one of extracting resources. However wellintentioned, we don’t need a Trojan horse product that will take money out of the system.” Trojan horse (Simon Hooks CC-BY-NC-SA) 253649673/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Chris Newfield University of California, Santa Barbara
  31. 31. Audry Watters (by Catherine Cronin CC-BY-NC-SA) catherinecronin/8489535396/ Audrey Watters: “But what happens, when we “hack education” in such a way that our public institutions are dismantled? What happens to that public good? What happens to community? What happens to local economies? What happens to social justice?” 3 March 2013
  32. 32. “[T]he Open Scholar is someone who makes their intellectual projects and processes digitally visible and who invites and encourages ongoing criticism of their work and secondary uses of any or all parts of it — at any stage of its development”. Gideon Burton, 11 Aug. 2009, Academic Evolution Blog (by way of Terry Anderson)
  33. 33. view/DigitalScholar_9781849666275/ book-ba-9781849666275.xml In a world that is digital, networked, and open, “people become less defined by the institution to which they belong and more by the network and online identity they establish.” — Martin Weller “The Digital Scholar” (2011)
  34. 34. “[T]he networked environment makes possible a new modality of organizing production: radically decentralized, collaborative, and nonproprietary, based on sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either market signals or managerial commands. This is what I call commons-based peer production.” – Yochai Benkler The Wealth of Networks (2006, p. 60)
  35. 35. The Connected Course
  36. 36. #Phonar (31 Oct. 2013)
  37. 37. (Photography and Narrative) annual, since 2009 > Jonathan Worth, Chantal Riekel , Jonathan Shaw, Matt Johnston (Coventry University, UK) > Investigates notions of ‘trans-media’ and how this can be applied to modern photographic practices > Weekly tasks, guest lectures, seminars & workshops on location at Coventry (versions shared via the #Phonar site) > “We propose that by drawing on the cumulative knowledge of our entire class-community we can come to a better understanding together” #Phonar (31 Oct. 2013)
  38. 38. Jonathan Worth: “I curate a journey through a structure of learning, providing contextual links between specialist contributors,” says Worth. “Each year the journey is different (and relevant), and each year it accrues a long tail of content.” WIRED. Aug. 11 2011
  39. 39. Locations of visitors to the PHONAR website, December 2010 Open and Connected Teaching and Learning > Open as in openly accessible (free-speech), open to improvement (in beta) and open to being shared. > Connected refers to both our on and offline communities and acknowledges that we are part of their fabric. > ‘Teaching Openly’ means we can draw on our communities as a resource . . . these relationships are collaborative. Jonathan Worth New Photographics, 1 Oct. 2013
  40. 40. Twitter as “a listening device” and a means “to tune the network.” Jonathan Worth, WIRED. Aug. 11 2011
  41. 41. The Power of Open (2011)
  42. 42. The Distributed Course
  43. 43. (30 Oct. 2013)
  44. 44. “Digital Storytelling (also affectionately known as ds106) is an open, online course that happens at various times throughout the year at the University of Mary Washington… but you can join in whenever you like and > University of Mary Washington, leave whenever you need. Fredericksburg, Virginia. This course is free to anyone > Jim Groom, Martha Burtis, Alan Lavine who wants to take it . . .” > an experiment in open, connected and social learning (30 Oct. 2013)
  45. 45. ds106 course objectives: > Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative selfexpression > Frame a digital identity > Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies (30 Oct. 2013)
  46. 46.
  47. 47. 614 ds106 assignments and 5701 examples (30 Oct. 2013)
  48. 48.
  49. 49. DS106 Flow (30 Oct. 2013)
  50. 50. “ds106 Radio is a free form live streaming station that has been setup for this course . . . It provides a global, 24 hour/7 day-a-week happening for the creations of the course and much, much more. And more than anything, ds106 radio is place where anyone can submit their work and help program the course radio station in order to commune and share around works and ideas while at the same time making the web safe for democracy.” Tim Owens: “Broadcasting on ds106radio”
  51. 51.
  52. 52. Oct. 30 2013
  53. 53. The Collaborative Course DOCC2013
  54. 54. FemTechNet is an activated network of scholars, artists, and students who work on, with, and at the borders of technology, science and feminism in a variety of fields including STS, Media and Visual Studies, Art, Women’s, Queer, and Ethnic Studies.
  55. 55. > 15 Colleges & Universities (U.S., Canada), each offer own course for credit > First iteration of the DOCC 2013 will take place from September-December, 2013
  56. 56. > Demonstrates “the innovative process of feminist thinking that engages issues of networked infrastructures for learning, learner-centered pedagogies, collaborative knowledge creation, and transformational practices of design and media making” > Recognizes that “expertise is distributed throughout a network, among participants situated in diverse institutional contexts, within diverse material, geographic, and national settings, and who embody and perform diverse identities”
  57. 57. > 10 Video Dialogues - prominent and innovative thinkers and artists address the question of technology through feminist frameworks. > Storming Wikipedia designed to write women and feminist scholarship of science and technology back into our web-based cultural archives. > Course content will grow through the exchange among participants. > Participate through independent studies, selfdirected learners, drop-in learners
  58. 58. (1 Nov. 2013) Teaching & Learning Resources for All Welcome! What is a Self-Directed Learner? A self-directed learner is a DOCC 2013 participant who is not formally enrolled in or teaching a current course but who wants to engage with some focus, and even participation, in the DOCC 2013. Unlike a MOOC, you will not be receiving knowledge from DOCC 2013, but rather, participating in designing and directing your own experience with DOCC 2013 materials and with other participants.
  59. 59. (1 Nov. 2013)
  60. 60. Teaching and Learning Paradigms Locus, Mode, Temporality, Structure, Objective PUSH teacher, broadcast, synchronous, hierarchical, educate PULL resource, download, asynchronous, nodal, individual learning SHARE site, co-create, continuous, networked, knowledge network
  61. 61. Wicked Problems “They can’t be “fixed.” But because of the role of design in developing infrastructure, designers can play a central role in mitigating the negative consequences of wicked problems and positioning the broad trajectory of culture in new and more desirable directions.” Jon Kolko. Wicked Problems. 2012 p. 11