Photo credit: “Labirinto villa Pisani 2” by P tasso – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Labirinto_villa_Pisani_2.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Labirinto_villa_Pisani_2.JPG
There is quite a bit to think about this week, and I think it all ties beautifully back into Lisa’s video (side note, there is about 10 minutes of dead space at the end after Lisa says something about taking questions). I chose the image of a maze, because in many ways that is was the CMS is for us and for our students. Both the video, and the reading from Ko and Rosen talk about instructor presence, the importance of layout, and understanding what you are hoping to do within the course. Ko and Rosen’s discussion of the importance of being able to troubleshoot the tech or programs fits with what Lisa was saying about not assigning a program or tech that you cannot use yourself. Students will always expect this from us. I also agreed with, and identified with, Lisa’s points about friendliness, it’s amazing how much it means to use their names! Students think they need the professor more in the first few weeks, but I would agree that, if the goal is really student-centered learning, we need to back of a bit. I always think of it as going from being the “sage on the page” to being the manager of the experience. Collaboration is huge, and I, personally, am moving away from big, high-stakes grading assignments to smaller, low-stakes, group-oriented ones. It causes less stress for all involved.
I would class myself in Ko and Rosen’s category of someone who has taught online, but has barely scratched the surface in terms of what is out there and pedagogy adaptation. I would agree that teaching online fosters a heightened awareness of your teaching, and a willingness to experiment to try to make the experience better for all involved: does allow for networking, as this class shows. I guess because of, or in spite of, all of that I got 11 points on the questionnaire. So, I decided to also check out the Hybrid Pedagogy Journal. I found numerous articles that got the juices flowing metaphorically, and one near and dear to my heart about the realities of being an adjunct. I decided to choose 4 that I thought were the most interesting or controversial to discuss here.
The first was “Designing for Emergence: The Role of the Instructor in Student-Centered Learning” by Mary Stewart, which discussed the place of the instructor in the new student-centered -isms. I liked this idea of discussing the why of the syllabus with the students, which then gives them space to discuss what worked well and what was confusing with the professor. I also liked the idea of collaborative communities. This tied in well with “Introducing Digital Humanities Work to Undergraduates: An Overview” by Adeline Koh, which posits that everyone is a digital humanist because of the importance of tech in daily lives. She brought in some interesting text analysis software, such as http://www.wordle.net/, http://voyant-tools.org/, http://www.textal.org/, as well as places to do digital curating of exhibitions (having students curate something related to your class), http://www.omeka.net/. She also advocated for editing Wikipedia, which I admit I am biased against. I always steer students away from that site. What are others thoughts there? I am attaching my Wordle attempt using the Jabberwocky, since it fit with Lisa’s theme.
The other 2 articles I wanted to talk about are “Synchronous and Asynchronous Technologies: When Real World Collide” by Glen Cochrane which discusses the options for communication through tech: prevalence of asynchronous types. This article points out that with aynchronous there is a detachment from the real-time context, and need both types to keep context relevant. And, “Syllabus as Manifesto: A Critical Approach to Classroom Culture” by Adam Heidebrink-Bruno in which the syllabus is repurposed as form of cultural exchange, which makes one think about the language used, an idea that also ties into Lisa’s video. Heidebrink-bruno would remove rubrics from grading, which I think would make it more opaque and less transparent. What do you all think? I am linking to the article to get thoughts on his sample syllabus: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/syllabus-manifesto-critical-approach-classroom-culture/. Does the sample syllabus, and the implied digs at the institution, go too far?