Three courses, three experiences of education and digital cultures

Three courses, three different formats. The first two courses are about education and digital media. It seems the first one is a MOOC along the connectivist ‘tradition’: distributed on various web media, putting the learners in charge of their own experience, facilitated by what is called in this case ‘conspirators’. The second one is organized on the Coursera-platform, which normally means a more classical, top-down learning experience. However, the participants are invited to co-create course content and the organizers want to involve the “wider social web”.

The last course is not necessarily about education, but about literacies of cooperation. The organizer, the virtual communities and digital culture expert Howard Rheingold, does not want this to be a ‘massive’ experience, instead the course is limited to 35 learners (and you’ve to pay a fee). I participated in previous editions, and I can assure you it’s pretty intense.

#etmooc is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about educational design and media.
Welcome (Jan 13-19): Welcome Event & Orientation to #etmooc
Topic 1 (Jan 20-Feb. 2): Connected Learning – Tools, Processes & Pedagogy
Topic 2 (Feb 3-16): Digital Storytelling – Multimedia, Remixes & Mashups
Topic 3 (Feb 17-Mar 2): Digital Literacy – Information, Memes & Attention
Topic 4 (Mar 3-16): The Open Movement – Open Access, OERs & Future of Ed.
Topic 5 (Mar 17-30): Digital Citizenship – Identity, Footprint, & Social Activism

At Coursera: E-learning and Digital Cultures – Jan 28th 2013 (5 weeks long). This course will explore how digital cultures and learning cultures connect, and what this means for e-learning theory and practice. Follow this course at #edcmooc. This course will consist of viewing short film clips alongside associated readings, as well as discussions and group collaborations amongst participants. Interesting: “E-learning and Digital Cultures will make use of online spaces beyond the Coursera environment, and we want some aspects of participation in this course to involve the wider social web. We hope that participants will share in the creation of course content and assessed work that will be publicly available online.”

Howard Rheingold is convening “Toward a Literacy of Cooperation: Introduction to Cooperation Studies,” January 24 -March 1.
A detailed syllabus: a six week course using asynchronous forums, blogs, wikis, mindmaps, social bookmarks, synchronous audio, video, chat, and Twitter to introduce the fundamentals of an interdisciplinary study of cooperation: social dilemmas, institutions for collective action, the commons, evolution of cooperation, technologies of cooperation, and cooperative arrangements in biology from cells to ecosystems.

Difference and the unexpected are what matters

Nice video about how education changes and should change. Because difference and the unexpected matter more than identical competences and predictability.

Coursera is one of the examples of the ‘new education’, but I think other educational practices would be even more illustrative of the deep changes.
Stephen Downes and George Siemens started back in 2008 with Massive Open Online Courses. Those courses are distributed, learner-centered. I remember how we had meetings at various online venues, also in Second Life and I even think World of Warcraft. People were expected to blog and interact on various platforms, and Stephen’s aggregation tool brought it all together. The important thing was to connect and to develop a personal learning project. The newsletter was like the newspaper of a vibrant learning community. I report about that kind of MOOCs in the Peeragogy Handbook.

So, the core question is around engagement

These days I’m working on my contribution for Howard Rheingold’s Peeragogy project. I’m working on “connected learning”, much inspired by the Massive Open Online Courses organized by Stephen Downes en George Siemens. I’ll add some stuff I learned by organizing daily chat sessions and (live)blogs for my newspaper (I wrote some posts about this for MediaShift, like this one about using CoverItLive).

However, the notion “connected learning” is not very precise. Howard just pointed me to the launch of — the connected learning hub for MacArthur Foundation’s connected learning effort. They use the term in an overlapping but I guess somewhat different meaning.

Not that I care that much about definitions. The seems very interesting. Connie Yowell, director of education of the MacArthur Foundation, explains their vision, which has everything to do with the experience the kids have, who the kid is, asking the core question “is the kid engaged”. Other experts in the video point out how it’s no longer an issue of transmitting information as efficiently as possible from a single source to the kids, but of match-making, facilitating connections between learners and mentors (cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito):

The Essence of Connected Learning from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.