Week 3

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Week 3: Teaching Like It's 1992
Begins 10:00 am EST -0500 on February 10, 2014
Ends 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 17, 2014
Peer Assessment 2, Part 1, will be available until 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 17, 2014
Week 3 quiz will be available until 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 24, 2014
Materials will be available until September 1, 2014




The world changed on April 22, 1993, when the scientists at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications released the Mosaic 1.0 web browser for use by the general public.    From then on, anyone with access to an open Internet connection could communicate anything to anyone else who had open access to the Internet--without the intervention or safety net of an editor or publisher.  That’s a tremendous responsibility and opportunity that ushered in our Information Age.  We should be training students to be productive participants in this era.  We’re not.  We’re still teaching like it’s 1992.  In this course, we’re not advocating that everything has to change, but we are strongly suggesting that we do an inventory of the new skills, requirements, abilities, and "literacies" that are important for thriving in the world we live in now.  Marx’s concept of “uneven development” is useful to understanding the variations of change in different settings, in counterpoint to the ideas of either linear progress or “trickle down” influence.   
Standardization of learning and of assessment is one area that needs our attention.  Since the creation of the SAT's in 1926, standardized, high stakes testing has been used as an entrance exam to post-secondary schooling.  Why?   Of all the ways of judging who should or should not be admitted to higher education, why have we chosen a form of testing that has been shown not only to be flawed but, in the U.S. and elsewhere, to correlate strongly with family income rather than intelligence, aptitude, skills, or knowledge.  Over the last century, in the U.S. it has also been the case that secondary education has become, de facto, college preparation.  This is not true in other countries, where the filtering into career tracks, specialization, and vocational tracks begins much earlier. Who is "filtered out" from this process?  What does that filtering mean to a just and equitable future?  In the U.S., there has been increasing erosion of vocational tracks (contributing to income inequality).  This week we’ll look at education, everywhere, as a filter and a funnel, a system of cultural and social values that reflect ideas of social mobility.  
Education should also prepare us to be better, more successful participants in the world we live in now.  Outside of the classroom, we no longer learn the same way we did in 1992, but we’re still teaching like it’s 1992 inside the classroom, with a hierarchical "one to many" approach to much of learning. We will focus on assessment methods, peer-to-peer open learning, and new tools for data analysis (and precautions).  We’ll also look at what the thirty-year downward trend in public educational funding has meant in the U.S. and how it has altered the demographics of education for public and private schools worldwide.   We’ll look at how higher education in the U.S. now accelerates rather than diminishes income inequality.  We’ll also talk about the problems of a profession where over 70% of the faculty are now contingent or adjunct (non-permanent, no benefits, no security, sometimes below livable wage).  How do MOOCs fit into the picture?  Do they help?  Do they hurt?  Why do legislators want to believe MOOCs will solve a problem caused by a thirty-year and escalating defunding of public education?   And what is the difference between peer-to-peer open and participatory learning and MOOCs?


 Week 3 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. 

  • Peddycord III, Barry and Elizabeth A. Pitts. “From Open Programming to Open Learning:  The Cathedral, the Bazaar, and the Open Classroom.” Field Notes to 21st Century Literacies:  A Guide to New Theories, Methods, and Practices for Open Peer Teaching and Learning.  Available in  print or on  HASTAC. Annotate it on RapGenius
  • Davidson, Cathy N.  “How We Measure,” Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Penguin Books. 2011.  Online.
  • Wesch, Michael. "A Vision of Students Today." 2007. Online
  • DukeSurprise.com

Video Lectures: 
The video lectures for this week consist of the following: 

  • 3.1 - Teaching Like It's 1992
  • 3.2 - How We Measure  
  • 3.3 - Neoliberalism and Defunding of Public Education
  • 3.4 - Crowdsourcing How We Learn 
  • Who's Your Favorite Teacher 
  • Interview with Camila Alire
  • Interview with Albert Beveridge
  • Interview with Jim Leach 

  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, February 10, 4:00 - 5:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Professor Davidson and Kaysi Holman
  • Monday, February 10, 9:00 - 10:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Community TA
  • Wednesday, February 12, 9:00 - 10:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Community TA
  • Wednesday, February 12, 9:30 - 11:30 am EST (-5:00 GMT) - Community TA - Moved from Monday
  • Thursday, February 13, 9:00 - 10:30 am EST (-5:00 GMT) - Teaching Assistant: Elizabeth
  • Friday, February 14, 9:00 - 10:30 am EST (-5:00 GMT) - Teaching Assistant: Elizabeth
  • Saturday, February 15, 2:00 - 5:00 pm EST (-5:00 GMT) - Teaching Assistant: Malina

Convert these times to your time zone

  Weekly Quiz: 
Take the weekly quiz.  Week 3 quiz will be available until 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 24, 2014. Note, the quiz is optional, however, 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:   


  • Create a powerful video or visual: The video of Wealth Inequality in America is an amazing example of a data visualization. Another powerful video about higher education is “A Vision of Students Today” by Mike Wesch, who is making a point about the lecture format versus a new, participatory way of engaging students, teaching digital literacy by making a digital video that is very simple--mostly students holding up cards with writing on them. It has “gone viral.” Some 4.9 million people have watched this video. Although simple in technology, it is beautifully written and it has had an impact.   You do not, in other words, need to have fancy equipment to make a powerful and important statement.  Make a powerful video or visual about any aspect of higher education.  You might focus on who is excluded.  Or on the faults of current education.  Or on the importance of public support for higher education.   We know, from the research, that in the US a college graduate still earns significantly more income over the course of a lifetime than a non-college graduate.  How would you make the case for the importance of higher education in a powerful video format?  If you make a visual, you can post it on HASTAC, another platform or your own site. If you make a video, you can post it on Youtube or Vimeo. Then, post a link to your video or visual in the forums and on social media to publicize your video or visual, and try to make it “go viral” by letting us know what you are doing to convey your message to a wider audience.  PLEASE READ BEFORE MAKING VIDEOS:  Digital literacy is also about privacy, intellectual property, identity, permission, translation.  Do you have permission to use images, data, graphs, and music? No video can be posted unless you have secured permission;  a downloadable permission form is available. If your video is not in English, how will you translate for our English-language-based community?
  • Forum on educational filter systems: How does the education system filter students from early childhood education through paths in higher education and professional school and into certain careers?  The filtering of students happens at different times in different countries.  In some places, at around age 10 or 12, students are routed either into college-preparatory schools and curriculums or vocational tracks.  In the U.S., the sort happens in secondary school, but the lack of true vocational education for those not going on to college contributes, the research shows, to a substantial high school drop out rate.   Please discuss the educational system in your locale, considering the percentage of students who go on to institutions of higher learning, vocational education, and other aspects of education that filter out social classes, income hierarchies, and other aspects of preparing students for future jobs, professions, and occupations.
  • Forum on "See one. Do one. Teach one. Share one.": Everyone has a right to be a teacher.  By that, we mean everyone has some area of expertise or experience that they can pass on to someone else, for their benefit.  In what situations are you the teacher?  Where are you able to take information, knowledge, or ideas that you have and share them with others?  Please think in the broadest terms:  your students, teachers, parents, kids, others in your society.   In what instances do you become the student, where others teach you?   Please think about those instances too.  How are they related?  Are there times where you are both teacher and student, both giving and receiving information?  In a sense, that is the model of collaboration at its most successful, when all parties can exchange what they know with one another--and learn from one another.
  • Forum on public funding of education: Tell us about state public funding of education in the country, state or municipality you live in right now. What are the costs to society of not supporting public education fully?  Who suffers?  Who profits?   What are the implications for society? Why do societies need educated citizens?  If there are harmful impacts on society, what can citizens do, together, to reverse the trend of neoliberalism in order to make a new commitment to the social good of mass, public education? 
  • Forum on whether MOOCs the answer to defunding of public education?: When MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courseware) were first developed, some of the “hype” about them was that they would solve the problem of the high cost of education and that they would provide education for free worldwide at low cost?   They have turned out to be far more expensive to produce than anticipated and they do not really substitute for an actual college degree.   However, they do provide lots of different kinds of information, content, knowledge, and experimental and participatory learning opportunities (as in our course) for free and without educational prerequisites.   Are there things we can learn from MOOCs that might be useful to better public education?   Many graduate students training to be college professors and many current college professors are very worried that MOOCs will replace them in the classroom?  Is that a realistic fear?   In the U.S. some 70% of college teachers are either contingent or adjunct labor (meaning they are paid by the course, have low wages, no job security, and no health or retirement benefits).  Do MOOCs provide new opportunities for these teachers or do they further imperil them?  These are very serious social questions that we need to think about in this meta-MOOC (a “meta-MOOC” is a MOOC that is partly about the meaning, social utility, and learning implications of MOOCs). 
  • Forum on How We Measure: What is the Value of Peer Assessment for Learning? In the Week 3 videos, supplemented by the readings, Cathy Davidson talks about the importance of rethinking standardized, high stakes or "end of grade" testing.  The research shows that summative testing works to make grading easier or machine readable; it gives some way of judging uniformly across different test takers; but it does very little to help with actually learning the material or testing whether the student has mastered the material, will retain it, or is able to synthesize and apply it to other situations.  It is not "formative," even though most good testing in the real world is useful in that it does help to form your ability to learn more, to build upon what you have learned.    In the real world--whether we are learning how to play tennis, how to drive, how to master a new computer system at work, or how to succeed at new life skills such as taking care of a new baby--we learn by doing and by getting instant feedback from others, from the system that doesn't work because we aren't doing it correctly, or from our own mistakes and frustration.  School is one of the only places with a "summative" assessment format that is not integral to the learning process itself.  This is one reason why many people are experimenting with more effective ways to test that do contribute to real learning and that incorporate real-time formative feedback into assessment (i.e. Finnish Lessons is one example).  Peer Assessment is part of this movement to teach by having students give feedback to one another.  You learn by critiquing others and allowing yourself to be critiqued.  This is done in STEM fields as well as in essay grading (as we are doing in "The History and Future of Higher Education")  What do you think?  What is your experience of peer assessment in this course?  Have you used peer assessment elsewhere?  How successfully?   What are your thoughts about whether peer review can be part of the learning process?

 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 second Peer Assessment exercise is about the Course Constitution. The first step, due at the end of this week (9:59 am EST -0500 on February 17, 2014), is to write a 500-word essay about the five most important things you think should be included in the course constitution. Why? (Please note: if you made edits on the class wiki, you can discuss what you added). 

Next week (from 10:00 am EST -0500 on February 17, 2014 to 9:59 am EST -0500 on February 24, 2014), you will be given five essays that others have written and you will be responsible for peer reviewing those essays. Your feedback will be guided by quantitative and qualitative assessment rubric.

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 5:59 AM PDT
Last Modified Tue 11 Feb 2014 11:30 AM PST