I'm a finalist for teaching a Coursera MOOC next year on "The History and Future of Higher Education." Naturally, I am doing this because I want to improve the future of higher education and add as much innovation as possible. I'm interested in ways that an online course with a relatively static form could become a platform for innovation. And I will use this hastac.org site as a testbed for analysis of the teaching and learning as it is happening and as a place of reflection on the process and possibilities.
Currently, behavioral economist Dan Ariely and I have been coteaching a course in which we are the students, our students work in groups to create the syllabus, the assignments, to assure that student work meets its contractual obligations, and then to interview Dan and me and edit the video and post that to our website and then they remix that content into the most exciting, interactive exercises for learning they can come up with. In my Coursera MOOC, we'll be using the methods, examples, and materials these undergraduate students came up with as the basis for "the future" of higher education. You can read about that course here: http://hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/2013/02/17/join-our-dukesurprise-course-getting-real-w-profs-cathyndavidson-and This summer we will remix this course and make it more public and outward facing.
I also want to play with the form of peer grading, turning that into an interactive learning by doing exericise, even within the confines of a MOOC. Here's an idea I have for a writing assignment. I'd love to hear other possible ideas. If Coursera accepts the course, it will run next Spring. Students in our PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge will help me to create the course so they will be learning new techniques (pro and con) from this online course experience.
Here's how I'm thinking of structuring the writing assignments so that there is maximum real-time formative feedback for both the writer and the peer-grader.
This will be a peer-graded writing assignment, beyond the multiple choice format, where learners enrolled in the course will contribute and test ideas about pedagogy that will also help others to learn and test and give feedback on how new methods work or do not work in specific situations. The point is to turn assessment into an opportunity for a learning-sharing and co-teaching process.
Peer grading is peer learning.
1) Theory--begin by defining the theoretical area into which you are hoping to make an intervention, the learning area, goal, mission, content, structure, or assessment. Focus on values and purpose and make a reference to a historical or theoretical point discussed in class.
2) Research--what learning research can you find that supports the theory? Supply a citation and annotate the citation. Make a connection between this research and the theoretical point you've defined.
3) Example--translate that research and theory into a practical improvement you could make in a classroom tomorrow. Be as explicit as possible and propose a way of translating the big idea and research into a practical learning application that you can try and test (if you are a teacher or in a learning situation).
4) Bonus points--try it out in the classroom or informal learning situation. Report back on what you did, how it went, what feedback you received from the learners.
5) Improve: Using this feedback, how would you change it, improve it?
6) Conclusion: how does this instance of pedagogical change make an impact on the system of higher education and contribute to the future of higher education? What larger institutional issues does it contest or challenge? What institutional changes would it facilitate or promote?
Peer Grading Instructions: The idea is to give real-time assessment to someone’s thinking
1) Evaluate the theory for coherence, logic, innovation
2) Assess the research for bibliographic form and accurac and evaluate the annotation for usefulness and concise sharing of information
3) Make at least one suggestion that will help your co-learner extend his or her idea to a new assignment, a new way of thinking about teaching, or a new mode of learning.
4) Comment on how this idea helps to change the future of learning
5) Bonus points: Try out the idea in your class. Report back on how it goes.