Week 1

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Week 1: Guiding Principles and Driving Concepts - Let's Get Started  
Begins 10:00 am EST -0500 on January 27, 2014
Ends 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 3, 2014
Peer Assessment 1, Part 1 will be available until 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 3, 2014
Week 1 quiz will be available until 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 10, 2014
Materials will be available until September 1, 2014


This week introduces the idea of a purposive, activist history--learning how and why educational institutions were constructed in the past, for specific historical purposes and in specific contexts--and helps us understand the present and gives us some tools for beginning to shape a different future.  We will look at information revolutions from cuneiform (the beginning of writing in Ancient Mesopotamia) to the World Wide Web.  Almost all of our current educational institutions worldwide were created for the last Information Age, the age of steam-powered presses, machine-made paper, and machine-made ink.  Although there are different forms and practices of education in different countries, the movement toward compulsory, public education was a worldwide movement inspired by the industrial age, the "information age" brought about by mass printing.  Pundits were alarmed back then, too, about distraction, shallowness, lack of values, attention, or the work ethic in the youth of the era--even about pedophiles preying on young girls made giddy and defenseless from too much novel reading. This week we will look at the “21st century literacies” we need in an era where issues of privacy, publicity, security, access, cost, ethics, intellectual property, safety, credibility, collaboration, global consciousness, design, open learning, and ethics all need careful thinking and action.     

We will ask recurring questions about the structure of all educational systems:  What institutions, values, and forces shape education?  Our metaphoric question for this is "Who’s behind the camera?" The second question will be the focus for our Coursera participants:  What does education look like in your country or region--and how can it be reshaped for the future of learning, with the principles of open, peer learning this course advocates? This course focuses largely on the Anglo-European-American traditions, with many specifics particularly geared to the U.S.   We hope our participants from around the world will actively contribute insights to their own local situations to this discussion.

Week 1 Assigned Reading:
The articles below are readings that support this week's lesson.  For more information on specific topics, check out the Supplementary Readings page.  

  • Davidson, Cathy N. "How a Class Becomes a Community: Theory, Method, Examples." Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies: A Guide to New Theories, Methods and Practices for Open Peer Teaching and Learning. 2013. Available in print and on  HASTAC. Annotate it on RapGenius
  • "Forum: A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age." (aka "Mozilla Manifesto"). 2013. Online.  

Video Lectures: 

The video lectures for this week consist of the following:  

  • Lecture 1.1 - Guiding Principles and Driving Concepts - Let's Get Started! 
  • Lecture 1.2 - Four Great Information Ages in Human History:  From Cuneiform to the World Wide Web 
  • Lecture 1.3 - 21st Century Literacies (part 1) 
  • Lecture 1.3 - 21st Century Literacies (part 2) 
  • Lecture 1.4 - Who's Behind the Camera?  

Office Hours:
The FutureEd team--Professor Davidson, Teaching Staff, Teaching Assistants and Community TAs-- will be available in the forums to answer your questions at certain times during the week. Please note that all of these times are in Eastern Standard Time -0500. See all available office hour forums. Here are the specific times for this week:

  • Monday, January 27, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Community TA
  • Monday, January 27, 4:00 - 5:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Professor Davidson and Kaysi Holman
  • Monday, January 27, 8:00 - 10:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Community TA

Convert these times to your time zone

Weekly Quiz:  
Take the weekly quiz.  Week 1 quiz will be available until 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 10, 2014.  If you wish to receive a Statement of Accomplishment you must receive 70% or greater across all quizzes.  Refer back to the Course Policies page for more details.  

I have long been a critic of high-stakes, end-of-grade ("summative") standardized testing.  The research confirms that the best kind of testing happens often, as you are learning, and as a way to reinforce what you are learning.  We are making every effort to take the simple quiz format in Coursera and make it as valuable a learning tool as possible.  Thus, even though we ask for the best answer in the quizzes, we never give you false or wrong information.  That way, everything you read in the process of finding the best answer also reinforces sound information or ideas in the learning research. 

Participatory Assignments:

  • Mod (or modify) your Community ConstitutionRead Professor Davidson's chapter "How a Class Becomes a Community: Theory, Method and Examples" and its annotations on RapGenius (please feel free to add annotations as well).  Professor Davidson's face-to-face course on the History and Future of Higher Education has modified the 21C Manifesto into a draft Community Constitution, posted in the course wiki.  What is a virtual class? What is a collaborative class? What does having worldwide participation add to a community? What rules pertain to an international virtual community? What do not? Make edits and propose new language until Monday, February 3, at 9:59 am EST -5:00. After February 3, the draft Community Constitution will be posted on RapGenius for further annotation and discussion.  
  • Forum on what kind of education you believe in?: Discuss the role of education in our era and in your locale: Is the purpose of education to prepare the next generation for their future or to instill the status quo? We really value an international perspective here.  Discuss what kind of education you believe in, what kind of educational system you currently have, and what kind of educational system you want. Even if your own educational system is imperfect or even if you are no longer in a standard educational system, what can you do in your life to ensure that you have the learning you need for your future? Prof Kathleen Woodward (University of Washington) has said that in a time of constant change, we are “all non-traditional” and “lifelong” learners.  What is your best advice for learning in a time of constant change?       
  • Forum on filming and lighting tips: How did we do adjusting the lighting and sound from video 1 to video 2? We are do-it-yourself (DIY) learners for videography and lighting. If you have filming and lighting tips for other DIY videographers please post those here.
  • Who's your favorite teacher?:  In the forums, post about your favorite teacher(s): Why are they your favorite teacher? What lessons about yourself, learning, or the world did you learn from her/him that you carry with you today?  Ask two others the same question. If you are able to do this on video, please do so.   Post your own answer and the two interviews to the forums. You can even post a video interview to YouTube or Vimeo and post the link in the forums (in lieu of a written response).  PLEASE READ BEFORE MAKING VIDEOS:  Digital literacy is also about privacy, intellectual property, identity, permission, translation.  No video can be posted unless you have secured permission;  a downloadable permission form is available.  It requires discussing with your interviewee the forms and practices of online identity.  Will you use first and last names?  Is your interviewee a minor?  (if so, have you secured permission from his/her parent or guardian?)  Will you use voice only or voice and face?  If your interview is not in English, how will you translate for our English-language-based community? 

Peer Assessment
There will be three peer assessment exercises throughout the course. If you wish to receive a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction you must receive 70% or greater across all quizzes and participate in all three Peer Assessment exercises. Refer back to the Course Policies page for more details.

This first Peer Assessment exercise will start the first week of class (open at 10:00 am EST -0500 on Monday, January 27, 2014). For each peer assessment exercise, you will have one week to write an essay based on the prompt. This first essay about something that you have had to unlearn or relearn is due by 9:59 am EST -0500 on Monday, February 3, 2014. Then, the following week, you will be given five essays that others had written that you will provide peer feedback on.

When giving feedback on peer work, remember Professor Davidson's rule: No trolls allowed in this course!  Your comments should be respectful, helpful, courteous, and also remember that not everyone comes from the same background or has the same proficiency with the English language. 


Created Wed 30 Oct 2013 5:58 AM PDT
Last Modified Tue 2 Sep 2014 7:14 AM PDT