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MOOC Diary: Week 2: Learning V Education

MOOC Diary: Week 2:  Learning V Education

Today is another day of filming, Week 2.   Another 150 hours or so of prep, laying out the segments, storyboarding the images and the actions, designing the assunments.  Here we go!


Week Two:  The iPod Experiment as Learning Model:  Or, Learning VERSUS Education





Segment One: Education vs. Learning

(opens with me listening to an ancient iPod and then photo of me with iPod and going back to 2003 . . .)


We have been talking about activist, purposive history--how we are looking at key incidents in the history of education in order to think about how we arrived at the present state of education, especially higher education, and with a mission of thinking together about the future.  We  have talked about enormous social changes but also about the ways we as individuals can make change in our lives, in our learning, in our classrooms and in our unlearning.   Throwing up our hands about “nothing changes” is not acceptable.  Easy to say nothing will change--and then not change.  This course is about making changes … and hoping changes go viral!   

About the iPOD:

This iPod represents a signature moment in the history of an interactive, peer-driven, student-led change in higher education.   Making, not just studying.   Learning by doing.  Critical thinking and critical contribution.

The iPod experiment also touches on all aspects of what constitutes education (both content and technology):

  • Pedagogy - shifted power to the students

  • Assessment - not the SAT or GRE, but how you got it to work

  • Institution - establish thinking through with technology, rather than just ed tech. It was both information science and information studies together.

It was an experiment in learning in a privileged, elite, institutional space. Often times elite spaces are the hardest spaces in which to enact change. Often, it’s the marginal spaces where change happens.


ACCESS AND EQUALITY:   Focus on women (not admitted into elite universities until mid-19th century and still vestiges) and on slavery (not only education but literacy itself illegal).     One sign of the power of education:   we prohibit and restrict it to those we are afraid of or wish to subjugate.



Segment Two: History of Disciplines and Institutions

Ancient universities, Taxila (5th c BC Pakistan, Lyceum Ancient Greece)

Our focus is on 3rd and 4th Information Ages:  Roughly Industrial Age educational apparatus we have inherited--assumptions, methods, practices, assessments, debates--and the new world post April 1883. 

Age of Reason - Diderot (disciplines)

Enlightenment - Kant, Descartes, Humboltian University

Matthew Arnold Culture and Anarchy

John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University


Research university:  seminars, labs "freedom of scientific research, teaching and study"

Humboldt and post-Humboldtian University.


Segment Three: 1876-1925

From the establishment of Johns Hopkins to when SATs are created:  virtually all of the apparatus we now think of as central and key to higher education was developed in this crucial 50 year period, with the direct intent of creating a specialized education suitable to the modern industrial age, embedding its hierarchies of knowledge (graduate and professional school), its valuing of science and technology over the humanities and arts ("two cultures"),  its focus on top-down learning, its embrace of scientific testing and scientific measurement (IQ tests, multiple choice tests, and a form of statistics based on norms and deviation from norm and standard deviation). 

Use slides:

  • List of all the types of schools

  • William James  and Taylor

  • Farm to Factory

  • Goals of Early Education

  • Common Schools - Democratize Education

IQ Tests

Francis Gallton - Standard deviation created to justify eugenics

Learning Disabilities

Grades/Multiple Choice tests


HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:   On the class wiki, we have made a timeline from 1800 to the present, divided into decades.  Choose a decade from before you were born and one in your lifetime and do research on some educational event or assumption or method or law or reform or institutional funding in that time, in that place.   Answer the short answer questions in the grid (When, Where, What, Who is audience for this event, Why?) .  Write a one-paragraph explanation.   End with your source in proper citation form.  



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