Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World
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1 Comment

  1. November 17, 2008    

    I agree with this, especially as it pertains to OCW efforts. I think there has been a tendency to see the many different types of edcuational material as all grist for the mill, and therefore somewhat equivalent.

    Part of this is because historically we’ve really neglected this informal learning bit of the equation — so this is the pendulum swinging over — if informal learning is the bulk of learning, and we have all these informal learning materials — then we’ve got OER.

    Which is true, sort of. I mean, if the scaffolding comes from the social framework around them, then yeah, that’s right. Let’s get building that supportive network.

    But the other way to see it is that the scaffolding can be built into the materials (or their sequence, or lectures surrounding readings, etc). And that is in fact what better professors have done over the years — constantly rearranged and improved their courses based on how well students react.

    And the really neat thing is that for the first time, professors have, with OCW, a further way to contemplate ways of improving their presentation — by looking at the work of others in their field. This ability to see how others work will be particularly important as we try to evolve classes into new models.

    Anyway, thanks for this. I think Brian’s what-if was helpful, in the way that it is helpful to return to these questions — but I think it may also be an indication that we’ve broken down one too many distinctions. The emerging educational environment is not a sausage mill, but an ecosystem, and not all open resources are interchangeable. We should expect that traditional scaffolded presentations will remain a crucial part of that ecosystem, even if they are bumping up against a lot of other types of material, even if they are encapsulated in more peer-to-peer oriented structures, even if more support is garnered through web means — and less is needed in the materials.

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