Week 12 POT – Open Education

This week’s topics are interesting.

First, about MOOCS:  I don’t have much experience in this area, but from what I know of MOOCS, I love that they can be a great equalizer.  Students from anywhere in the world can “study” and learn from some of the leading educators and experts in the world…. However, having said that, I don’t think personally I would enjoy learning via a MOOC because (without having actually tried it) I predict that I would feel either too isolated or too overwhelmed.  No offense, anyone!!!

I am quite sure that if I did not already have a certain level of expertise in the subject being studied/taught in the MOOC, I would likely just be a lurker.  I prefer the intimacy of a smaller online cohort — both for learning and teaching.  It’s just a personality quirk, like how some people love attending huge parties of strangers and others (like me) loathe them.  For my teaching, I prefer to personalize the content and materials, and if I were to teach a MOOC, that would be quite a challenge:  I would imagine a sort of generic course (not slamming this – it works fine for some disciplines, no doubt), which I have seen before for ESL.  I could ramble on with details about examples of such courses in my discipline, but suffice it to say that these may be fine for some students and some teachers, but not for the type of teaching I do in my field.

I looked up open courses in my discipline, ESL, and found only one on the MIT site, which looked like a homogenous Chinese class, and on The Open Education Consortium site, all I found were pages of ESL Web sites with various types of interactive online exercises, but not really anything I would consider a real “course.”  This, to me, indicates that open course is a new frontier in my field, as there is not a lot out there that is 1) high quality 2) open or 3) free.

About flipping and blending:

I have been at doing some level (sometimes very basic level, especially at the beginning when access to computers was a big issue for students) “web-enhanced” instruction and blended learning for as long as I have been teaching in community colleges.  In Spring 2013, I wrote an article for my department newsletter on ideas for flipping and blending in ESL.

As for flipping, I appreciated the blog post Cris Chrisman referenced on “Why I Gave Up Flipped Instruction.”  While it’s wonderful to experiment and try new methods and techniques in our teaching, we should be wary of wholly embracing and implementing what could be passing fads (not that everything about flipping is that).  When I considered flipping my classroom in the traditional sense, I put myself in students’ shoes and thought, “Do I really want to go home and watch a video of a teacher talking at me?”  As the traditional lecture is becoming obsolete and is replaced with more interactive information dissemination, the flipping of lectures does not seem to be a great educational advancement.  I would be the kind of student who would put on the video lecture and try to get 10 other things done at the same time, whereas F2F, I would at least have to pretend to be listening to the lecture, but a truly engaging give-and-take Q and A session would hold my attention much better.  Of course there are the students who prefer auditory learning, but what percentage of the class are we losing by delivering content via video or podcast? In sum, we need to consider students’ needs, abilities, our discipline … and then take an eclectic approach to the various ed tech methodologies, taking from them what works best.

Added Resource:  Hippocampus

Final Week 14 Presentation Preliminary Idea:

It may be a yawner, but I am thinking about doing something on Universal Design for Education considerations for online teaching.  Need to think about this more….


3 thoughts on “Week 12 POT – Open Education

  1. Wow! You’ve been doing some serious critical reflection, Kristi, and it shows. Let me briefly respond and share any resources I think may be helpful.

    First off, MOOCs.

    Dave Cormier, one of the original MOOC-creators with Siemens and Downes, shares a retrospective on how MOOCs have evolved and what each hybrid is good for

    How to succeed in a MOOC –http://youtu.be/r8avYQ5ZqM0
    Tips for overcoming the sense of being isolated and overwhelmed, and, yes, fearful. It’s a new culture. I’ll never forget the first day I posted a comment to someone in a first MOOC and worried if my words would be interpreted as I meant to convey them. Dave basically encourages us to be open, reach out, find your tribe, and get what you need from the experience.

    MOOCs and open courses for ESL? I found the same question on Quora and members suggested some current courses and some future ones. The one from Berkeley on writing for ESL students looks promising –http://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-MOOCs-for-ESL-or-other-languages-such-as-Chinese MIT’ Open Courseware is simply the syllabus and some related resources for those courses. There’s no live action. In its day it was considered quite innovative.

    I do think you’re right that openness is a new frontier for ESL learning and teaching. I bet a MOOC designed for high school ESL students that drew a global audience would be huge.

    Thanks for sharing your article on flipping. I’ve enjoyed the many ESL teachers who have taken my Young Adult Lit and Digital Storytelling courses and I definitely agree that “ESL teachers are some of the most innovative and creative risk-takers in education.”

    Glad you enjoyed Shelley Wright’s opinion on flipping classrooms. Flipping, like any other strategy, can be used poorly, and simply requiring the viewing of videos or readings is the best way to do that. I like to consider any lesson plan as including a Pre -, During-, and Post- component and each one needs to engage students and require some sort of accountability and credit for completion.

    Looking forward to your universal access project! 😉 Yawner, NOT.

  2. Pingback: Week 14 POT – Presentation and Final Post | MCC ESL Buffet

  3. Pingback: POT Week 14 – This is the End | MCC ESL Buffet

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