Presentation at CSUCI – A (mostly) Reasoned Discussion of Education’s Latest Phenomenon

I had the pleasure to be the initial speaker at California State University – Channel Islands’ faculty development series entitled, “Technology:  Change, Threat, Opportunity.”  My presentation was a brief introduction to viewing the MOOC from a phenomenological lens, the critical theory approach to researching the learning model, and then the results of my dissertation study.  The crowd was lively and enthusiastic about the research, asking questions about the methodology, results, the shape of phenomenological research in what is largely a quantitative field, and working as a group to determine attitudes towards the results and what they mean for the future of higher education.

Mikhail Gersovich was kind enough to stream the conversation live via #ds106, which not only allowed a listenership outside the bricks-and-mortar walls (one of the selling points of the MOOC learning model), but provided a conduit to discuss the difference between the MOOCs that dominate mainstream discussion and the types of unique and innovative online courses in existence today that would have been called MOOCs in their prior definition (the 2008-2011 version).  The concept of DS106, as well as the OER movement and edupunk of 2008, were novel concepts to many of the educators in the room, who showed keen interest in learning more about these innovative possibilities.  By and large, the professors in the room were wary of educational technology not because of a lack of utility but because of a lack of exposure to the innovation in the field rather than the hyperfocus on things such as the Coursera/Udacity/edX MOOCs.

Unfortunatley, no one listening to DS106 was able to archive the conversation; however, there is something refreshing about a lecture and conversation existing in a space and time for the environment rather than being abstracted and applied outside its original context.

We talked a lot about cognitive science versus more modern learning theories such as activity theory or constructivism.  Some discussants wanted to split cognitive science into a STEM focus with the more educational psychology discussion happening in humanities subjects, so I suggested the writings of Seymour Papert to the professors, specifically Mindstorms.

I look forward to visiting some of the other speakers during this semester-long series at CSUCI, most notably Michael Berman’s discussion on what technology could mean for the future of higher education.

Posted on: February 19, 2014admin

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