MOOCMOOCs Tuesday

So new day, new skills! Today I am going to attempt to make my first video and I have no idea how successful I may be. Rather terrifying in some ways as the process of setting up new technology (both hardware and software!) always intimidates me. Why I don’t know but it makes me feel like a klutz. There is that shame aspect again. (Thanks Angela Gail V-C for the insight!) So today’s topic of discussion is what type of learner I am. Enthusiastic sums it up! Onto the questions of the day.

 

What kind of learning do you value most? I think what I value the most is the opportunity to learn, to be exposed to new ideas and thoughts. That can happen anywhere. I believe it is important to be open to potential learning wherever it may occur. New ideas come along all the time from a wide variety of sources. Sometimes I’ll disagree with what has been presented. It still makes me think, “why am I not accepting this argument/idea/thought?” or, “That is wrong and here’s why.” I admit I do best in a verbal environment where the ideas form quickly and you can move from one idea rapidly to another.

How do you engage with your learning? Are you extrinsically or intrinsically motivated? I am both. I am naturally curious so I seek out information but as I gain more knowledge, I am rewarded by the opportunity to use that knowledge professionally (and as my experience level grows so does my paycheck). So a win-win situation. I expect that is how most learners acquire and utilize their knowledge.

Do we need institutions in order for education to occur? No, because we learn naturally through social contact with each other and exposure to new ideas from our social group. Are you talking about curriculum? What each society demands its people know? Are K-12 school necessary? They’ve only been around as institutions for 160+ years. Universities? They’ve been around for a lot longer.

I’m not sure. If they are teaching us how to think critically then yes I think institutions are important. If they are exploring new ideas, researching the big ideas then yes they are important. If they are just ways to turn us into societal automatons then please tear down those walls as K-12 is expected to. Somewhere I was introduced to critical thinking and that has allowed me to reason, to be aware of how I might be manipulated by words or deeds, why I might, as I said above, think about why this idea is not resonating with me. It has allowed me to not be swamped by the mass of information on the web, to curate, manage and organize ideas that are important to me.

It makes me wonder what education will look like 100 years from now. Will it just be downloaded to our brain like Johnie Mnemonic? Will our thoughts be overwritten and reformed constantly? Will we gather to exchange ideas or just text/tweet them if that even exists in 2113? What will be the big influencers on how we live and learn in the future? Will it be the climate? Finding food? Water? How far we have come from the roots we once had to the land where we knew where our food came from (and might even have given it a nickname). Phones were invented 130+years ago and now they are smart. I can bank without leaving my home, communicate with my brother face to face in Australia through Skype, I could be a hermit if I choose and never leave my house (groceries ordered online.) Perhaps we will need institutions just to practice our (failing) social skills and meet future spouses.

Do MOOCs threaten institutions of higher education, or are they something that happens outside of these institutions altogether — and then, do they threaten at all? Moocs seem to be the product of a university environment (the big idea). Isn’t this just using an online platform to collect and discuss ideas (rather like a large coffee shop) with people who are interested in the same thing but widening the base of knowledge and letting new people into the hallowed grounds of higher education? Isn’t this one large experiment with how people learn and acquire knowledge, allowing the student to be an equal and respected participant with everyone required to produce content? Is this not about breaking down the barriers that interfere with open communication? I am not a university professor, but I work within the education field. My knowledge is perhaps more practical than theoretical but valuable nonetheless. In the same way others are sparking new ideas for me, I might be sparking new ideas for them (or maybe not!) Is that not the purpose of a university? Therefore Moocs are the new university. Knowledge is still generated, curated, evaluated, gathered, discussed and published. No threat that I can see.

As usual I ask more questions than I give answers. Such is the nature of curiosity.

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