“Communities of Inquiry”: The Anti-MOOCs

Community of Inquiry Model

Conversations about e-learning at William & Mary are on the rise. Rachel, Jamison, and I have been working with two Arts & Sciences faculty who are in the process of developing the College’s first two fully online courses (to be taught during summer session). Faculty in graduate programs in business and education have been discussing the […]

Blinded by the MOOCs: Three Alternatives


While MOOCs have been making their debut, more traditional forms of distance learning have persisted (though not nearly with as much fanfare). The latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics show that about 20% of post-secondary students take at least one class online. Instead of (or in addition to) debating whether To MOOC or Not to MOOC, I’d like to propose three ways that e-learning can potentially enhance learning and increase accessibility at William & Mary: increased learning opportunities, course redesigns, and regional online collaborative courses. These three ideas can all help to keep learning front and center.

Using Computers for Teaching, 1967 to 2013

This is an image from the Life magazine article "The Computer as a Tutor." The original caption reads, "The sight of a small pupil ornamented like a pilot is rare, but may be common someday."

Teaching and learning with computers has been going on since at least the 1960s, and Stanford professors Pat Suppes and Dick Atkinson used computers in a California elementary school classroom to help students learn at their own pace. Their experiment, as outlined in a 1967 Life magazine article, shows that much of how we think about technology in education has stayed the same.

A View of the Future: From MOOC to MOOR

Graphic From: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/experience.htm#ixzz2X

The MOOC will soon die. Long live the MOOR: (Via MOOCtalk) Since the beginning, I’ve felt that one of the biggest contributions of MOOC mania is a richer view into the ways that top teachers design and deliver their courses. Opening a course to feedback from students and suggestions from outside experts can help push […]

Conversations About E-Learning: Three Ways to Get to Wear the Funny Hat

funny hat

Now that we’ve had a year or so to process the information about MOOCs and their various cousins and offspring, it seems that faculty at all levels need to engage in sustained and serious conversations about e-learning and its impact on the future. Serious conversation requires all of us to work to avoid the most egregious discussion stoppers.

Just a Little Apocalyptic Prognostication on a Tuesday Morning


In light of the Harvard email-snooping flap, I had originally thought about writing on digital privacy, except that a news item on the Chronicle’s website caught my eye this morning and got me to thinking about the apocalypse. Well, not the literal apocalypse–just an educational one. Maybe “epochal change” or “paradigm shift” would be better terms.

MOOC(h): How MOOCs Will Help the Rest of Us


As high-profile universities and professors set out to “change the world” with MOOCs and deliver courses to thousands of students at a time, they will also develop tools that will help everyone else teach and learn. Software engineers and professors will create new tools to manage large courses, and as they do so, they will change the conventions about what professors need from a learning management system (like Blackboard). While conversations about MOOCs can be about “democratizing education,” they can also be about getting professors better tools.

Thoughts from a MOOC Pioneer


Recently Scott E. Page did a presentation at the University of Wisconsin Center for Educational Innovation where he reviewed his experience teaching his Model Thinking course twice through online course provider Coursera. The talk he gives is a very interesting insight into the process of creating a very successful MOOC (massive open online course), but ties the experience into the typical role of a professor. For him, the mission of the professor is to share important ideas as deeply and with as wide an audience as possible.

E-Learning According to Time Magazine


I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the “issues” coverage offered in Time’s recent cover article on online education, especially given its attention-seeking headline “College is Dead. Long Live College!” I really didn’t expect it to have as much information as it did that would be of real interest to educators and .edu geeks in general. However the author, Amanda Ripley, took the time to enroll in a few MOOC-style classes, and some of the things that struck her are the same ones I’ve been thinking about when it comes to producing e-learning. In this post, read about a few highlights that struck me as particularly pertinent.

What We Can Learn from Bryn Mawr’s Online Learning Experiment

The Online Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon is a project for creating and using online learning modules as part of college courses.

On the “worth watching” list of experiments in online learning is a project at Bryn Mawr, a small liberal arts college that values personal interaction with students. Although using online learning at a college like Bryn Mawr sounds a little counter-intuitive, faculty involved in the project hope to “reinforce their hands-on teaching model rather than to subvert it” by using online course modules. How does this kind of model work, and what can we learn from this online learning experiment?