As I was attempting to respond to Tony’s post (and a background on MOOC with this introduction about MOOCs and What you need to know about MOOC?) in this part 2, Stephen got a wonderful and inspiring post where he says:
We need also to begin designing the educational resource support system for individual learners, including access not only to free or easily affordable educational resources – the learning ‘bread and butter’, so to speak – but also learning environments, network support structures, and access to learning inside work and other environments. I have spoken in the past about treating educational resources as a utility like water or power; we need to begin building this utility and putting it to work in hospitals, courts, manufacturing plants, parks and museums, and any other place people get together to work or play.
I agreed, we need to integrate work or play with learning, so learning is not separated from the work/play in the form of vacuum. We could design learning through gamification, by ourselves and with others.
This helps me in formulating the following questions:
a. How would you respond to these changes in HE, especially the MOOC and commercialization of education?
b. What would be your ideal education?
c. What would be your ideal MOOC?
d. Would personal learning environment help learners to learn more effectively, with the knowledgeable others in the networks?
As shared in my previous post:
An ideal MOOC to me would likely be distributed over different learning spaces, which again would align with learners’ different and changing needs and goals. As Stephen mentioned the product of learning is the learner, and so the learning is based on a growth model where learner’s growth of “knowledge” and wisdom with the navigation and construction of networks upon time. This also requires pruning of obsolete network patterns (outdated concepts, information, knowledge etc.), with the growing and nurturing of new and emergent network patterns.
This is also one of the most difficult and challenging part of education and learning, as it challenges the values of traditional canonical knowledge often prescribed in books and are determined by authorities, and are confined to be “delivered” in a closed wall settings. With the rapid changes in information and knowledge landscape, such ways of “transmitting” information and knowledge limited the discourse and inquiry, reducing knowledge to a set of memorable known facts, information, or procedures which, if understood would constitute learning.
Answers to questions, if shared would provoke further thinking and reflection, in a connectivist learning ecology. As each of us may look at the answers from our own lens, experience, we could then share our understanding, and critique on the “strengths” and “weaknesses” of those answers, and thus be able to improve or innovate through deeper inquiry and critical thinking. This is also based on a social scientific approach where “truths” are revealed in light of evidences and arguments, rather than the mere showing of facts and figures in experimentation.
Photos: Google image
I have thought about the questions from Tony’s post :
1. Do you believe we should replace teachers (or instructors) with computers? What are your reasons?
I think we could replace teachers or instructors of certain courses with computers, and these courses include those that relate to hard technology – like this Mechanical MOOC on Pythons. The skills required to program are based on routine programming knowledge, and would best be learnt and tested through machine based learning platform and machine testing and grading. This way of learning may not require much intervention by the human instructor, though not everyone is comfortable with the learning with machine. The mastery of programming knowledge are then based on instrumental learning. In fact, we have adopted such system in our knowledge test for driving for a few decades, using computer technology, and that seems to be a perfect, effective solution.
It is, however, dangerous to replace all teachers or instructors with computers in other online courses which are based on soft technology, especially on those subjects on philosophy, humanity science, arts, history, or certain science subjects.
Teachers or instructors are still the designers of education, and are needed to build innovative and improved learning spaces for and with the learners. Though the instructors might have changed their roles from the traditional “instructor’s” role to “facilitation, mentoring and coaching” role (see below), they should take an active part in guiding those learners who have specific needs in their learning journey, and in particular those novices who would need mastery of learning how to learn in online learning environment and ecology.
2. Can online learning improve productivity in post-secondary education without getting rid of most instructors?
I think we could introduce online learning in post-secondary education without getting rid of most instructors. There are many ways.
a. Instead of focusing on the delivering content of the course using online approach, focus on the design of educational experience, and reinforce the importance of transformational and parallel thinking and learning in online education design and delivery.
In summary, western thinking is failing because its complacent arrogance prevents it from seeing the extent of its failure.
Because criticism is so very easy, it has become a dominating habit of even intelligent people. There is a ridiculous belief that it is enough to get rid of the bad things and what will be left are good things. Today’s experience all over the world shows that getting rid of the bad things only results in chaos.
The elevation of the ‘critical intelligence’ to the highest level of human endeavour has probably been the single mistake of Western intellectual development. Yet that is still the basis of our culture and our universities. That is danger indeed. Think of all that wasted intellectual talent which might have been harnessed to creative and constructive effort.
Creativity and the design process and parallel thinking itself are only ways of achieving constructive results.
The above thoughts and perspectives challenge me to re-think about the traditional Western thinking system that was fashioned by the Greek Gang of Three (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). What was wrong?
So instead of using the boxes and judgement of traditional thinking, how about a ‘design forward from a field of parallel possibilities’ ?
The present folksonomy movement in Web 2.0 allows for the creative design and collaborative aggregations under an adaptive learning ecology.
Instead of competition between teams of learners, how about an integration of technology affordance with teaching and learning? This will foster the collaboration and learning amongst networks and communities of learners? The present proliferation of free open course ware and social learning networks and educational communities accelerate the spirit of collaboration amongst all parties - institutions, business, educators and learners on a global educational and learning movement.
Success in such movement relies on how educators and learners would create new learning spaces, based on connections, collaborations, and co-operation with Web 2.0 and other emergent technologies both locally and globally.
See also my posts on Transformational Thinking and Transformational Thinking – additional 2 hats in thinking. These 2 additional hats, when used in conjunction with the 6 hats would allow for transformational thinking at this digital age, especially in education and learning.
Learning and development of new and emergent technology on an institutional and personal level would be deemed necessary to align with transformational and parallel thinking in action.
b. Provide support to online instructors based on their expertise, as subject experts, facilitators, mentors and coaches.
As content mastery is still important for technical subjects, online instructors could support students in the mastery of content with different roles -as facilitators, mentors and coaches.
A focus on emotional and social intelligence by both the instructors and learners would help in building a positive educational and learning experience, through interaction, dialogue and active positive reinforcement and constructive feedback.
What would be my dream then? To become who and what I want to be.