Welcome to the Future (of Higher Education)

If you are still wondering what an online class of the 21st century looks and feels like, I urge you to sign up NOW to Cathy Davidson’s meta MOOC “The History and Future of (mostly) Higher Education“. Led with panache and honesty, this online course about the transformation in education as it is happening is both fascinating and fun.

If you’re not sure about joining a MOOC, check out Cathy’s latest post on HASTAC. Or look up #FutureEd on twitter. You can see what people are writing, commenting and doing without committing to the MOOC.

If you do sign up for the course, you will be introduced to the charming Cathy and to what a MOOC is (and what it isn’t). You’ll get a sense of the LMS (learning management system) online courses operate on, and it will introduce you to to standard online course elements like built-in questions (I wonder if that is Zaption – it looks a lot like it) and split screens and overlays. It’s not too fancy in the video production sense of things, which great. I am not a fan of  super glossy video lectures – they feel fake and I keep expecting Ken Burns to pop in.

In terms of content, the first module is great. It covers a lot of ground, from trolls to gender and representation in the digital world. What was most useful to me was the concise summary of the popular responses to each information revolution – the response, whether it be to movable type, mechanical calculators, Victorian novels or the internet is always the same: new information technology will rot your brain, it will sow the seeds of discord and challenge the status quo.

And to that I say: YES IT WILL and thank the heavens for it. It’s easy to laugh at the concerns of 18th century elites who worried that popular novels would lead their servants to question the order of things. But the fact is that mass literacy WAS a revolution, and so is digital literacy.

The digital humanities and hybrid pedagogies are part of this revolution, and I am very happy to be on this barricade. Won’t you join us?

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