Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On Network Fluency

On the web, not one knows you are a ____________ (fill in the blank).  Connecting with the previous elements of trust, I am continuing my opening exploration of this module's second topic: Network Fluency.  The introductory chat is available as a YouTube video, and the discussion is on the topic of Social Capital and Personal Learning Networks.

This subject of Network Fluency (or Network Literacy as was discussed on Rhizo14†) has come up many times, both in various MOOCs I've been a part of (mostly cMOOCs as it turns out), and in the contexts of instructional design. There is some desire by faculty to include more networked (dare I say "connected") elements in their courses, however the biggest concern is access. Will learners have access to the required technology? Will they want to use this mode of learning? Will they have the skills to use what they need to use? And, when skills come into question, it's been my observation that the skills that pop into mind are the mechanical skills, not the networked literacy skills that are a foundational pre-requisite to being successful in this type of environment.

A couple of weeks ago, in my EDDE 801 seminar George Siemens. While we had him as a captive audience to our questions I thought I would ask a question to see if he knew of any research that had been done on network literacy in action in the classroom, since everything I had seen thus far in my own small sphere dealt mostly with rudimentary hardware and software usage rather than sophisticated usage for learning. It appears that I have not missed much in the research since, according to his knowledge, we are still only working on the on-boarding phase, and not the actual doing phase.  Such a pity.  I have wondered what would happen if you started throwing students into the somewhat deep end of class. Would they rise to the occasion and figure things out (as far as the basic mechanics of the ICT goes), or would they just drown?

In thinking about network literacies, as I was brainstorming about this topic, I jotted down the following as skills:

  • traversing a network - How does one start in a course, like #ccourses, and connect to other people to commence their learning?  They might see content produced by others on the homepage, content that is privileged over the content of the content of the facilitators because it's on the homepage. The authors of this content may be more accessible than the course facilitators by virtue of not being a central node.  However, how does one break the ice and start commenting on other people's blogs in order to start traversing that network? To get from point A to B to C? Your background, the social capital you have accumulated in other areas of the web (and off the web) play an important role in breaking the ice in this initial step.
  • discovering new nodes - Nodes here refers to both human and non-human nodes.  How you discover people, electronic technologies, and analog technologies will differ.  You might discover some great colleagues  and have short or sustained interactions. You might discover books, articles, TED talks, and crowd-sourced YouTube videos.  New nodes may be physical locations, like visiting ancient sites in Greece, Italy or China.  Some nodes are connected, making your life easier (think books connected to Google Books or your library's OPAC), and some nodes are not connected (or as connected), so the way you go about discovering them isn't always as simple as traversing a path that connects them.
  • engaging with new nodes - Once nodes are discovered, then there is the issue of engaging with those nodes.  Here the educational interactions come to mind: student-student, student-content, student-instructor. I would add student-self interaction, that internal dialogue that we undertake to make sense of things when other required nodes are not present. Engaging with other nodes is a real skill that should be cultivated, but often there is little time (or energy) left when we're focusing purely on the mechanical (lower level of Bloom's taxonomy) and we don't focus on this.
  • engaging your CRAP detector - I think I read this in one of Howard Rheingold's books a while back, and librarians I know keep referencing it.  While I think that we should be egalitarian in our networks, it's inevitable that some information peddled by our fellow peers is just bad information.  This may be incidental, for instance how many people have Retweeted, or +1, or re-shared something without vetting it? We trusted the source that we got it from, so we didn't vet it ourselves.  However, we ought to engage the critical part of our mind and pass things through a mental filter to detect possible issues with the information we get. Not everything in an academic journal is great or accurate, but it may have been at one point.
  • socializing opportunities as on-ramps and off-ramps -  How does one design connected courses to provide for easy on-ramps (see traversing the network) and off-ramps to make sure that people don't get overwhelmed and quit?  We, invariably, tend to come from environments where learning is dictated, materials are curated, and if you buy into the xMOOC narrative the "best professors, from the best universities" in their field are "teaching" you - while really means they are talking at you and curating content.  However, this isn't the true face of learning.  Learning is messy, you need to roll you sleeves up and wade through good and bad information. You need to process it and then you need to do something with it.  When learners are conditioned to have curated content (and this content is not voluminous), they tend to get frustrated with the volume that gets thrown at them in a connected course.  We, as designers, need to engineer ways to get people in and out easily, especially for people who don't just dip into things, or who have a tendency to jump out and never come back.
Those are my initial thoughts on the matter.  Ideas? :)

† strongly believe at this point that we should drop the year from rhizo14 and CCK08/CCK11. Helps maintain a continuity when the course is offered again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On Trust

Here we are, module 2 of Connected Courses, and the focal topics for these next two weeks are Trust and Network Fluency. This module we have a few webinars to watch, and there are a number of book recommendations. Truthfully I cannot make it through these books, as much as I would love to read some of them at the moment.  Too many other things happening to focus meaningfully on them. I guess I will focus on the (free) audiovisual media provided, and the information posted by other participants (225 connected blogs thus far!).

I've decided to break down a (potentially) bigger post to two smaller ones.  This one will focus on Trust, and the subsequent one on network fluency.

Trust is an odd concept and it's not easy to pin down. We might think that we know what trust is, however many of us tend to default to the US Supreme Court's definition of  "I know it when I see it" which is quite subjective.  In the introductory reading for this module, is "my data showing in this" there is  an interesting thought present:  people of a certain age (including myself) can hide behind a vail of anonymity, at least as far as our youth goes.  The Internet was not around, or it was nascent, and as a consequence of that lots of old data has been scrubbed by the sands of time (hey, where's my old Geocities page?). It would appear that these days, the days of facebook, instagram, snapchat, and ubiquitous computing, that services are collecting data about us, data voluntarily contributed by way of using these services, that could come back to bite us in the rear at some point in the future, even for the most innocuous stuff, like buying a loaf of bread at your local baker using a specific credit card.

So, going back to that "I'll know trust when I see it" aspect, or better yet "I'll know trust when I feel it" brings me to the point of whom do you Trust, especially on the web?  Do you trust your classmates? Do you trust your family? Do you trust your professors?  How about your banker?  Trust, at least in dealing with humans, isn't a binary.  I think that there are levels of trust, so the follow up question is "trust them with what?" Do you tell your barber everything when you're making conversation as he snips your hair?  Do you trust your parents with information about your friends? Do you trust your classmates to keep what you said in class in confidence and not to share it with others?

In the online environment,  the other question is what do you trust?  Services like blogger and twitter allow you to create private profiles that only authorized people can view.  So, even if you trust certain people with certain information, can you trust that the IT infrastructure is going to live up to the promise of privacy?  Are the owners of the service, and their trusted sys-admins keep out of your private stuff? Do you trust that it is safe from hackers?  These are big questions, however for me they are at quite a meta-level.  The key, starting, question is this:  in a connected course, can you trust that others will engage with you, and your materials, in good faith? And if they don't, if they start to troll you, can you trust yourself to act appropriately (whatever that might look like)?

Trust is an odd thing to quantify.  Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Critical Pedagogy: Intentions and Realities (Online Edition)

Back in September Maha Bali's post on Critical Pedagogy: Intentions and Realities hit the interwebs on the Hybrid Pedagogy site. It's something I've been thinking about writing an Online Edition from my own experiences teaching in an online environment.  It seems to be a bit slow on Connected Courses this week (at least as compared to last week, measured in blog posts), so this seems like a good opportunity to write a little about the topic.

I should say that I haven't overtly thought about applying critical pedagogy to the classroom†. It is quite odd, if you really think about it because of where my academic foundations lay.  I am a graduate of the Applied Linguistics department at UMass Boston.  A department created and shepherded by Dr. Donaldo Macedo (those who know of Freire's work, also know Macedo). But we don't just have Donaldo in our department, we also have other scholars who move in the same circles as people like Henry Giroux, so to not have overtly covered Freire seems odd.  At the same time, in about half my curriculum I could see influences of Freire, so it may not be that odd that I didn't explicitly read any of Freire's work - it was, after all, an undercurrent of our entire MA program.

Anyway, enough with the name dropping.  Since I haven't read the actual text of Freire's work, I will rely on Maha's initial intents (as posted on Hybrid Pedagogy) and I will discuss a bit of my own experience in the online environment.

Intent A: Treat students as peers in a learning community.  Maha writes:

Ellsworth critiques critical pedagogues for discussing this in a paternalistic manner, where “treating” students as peers is a means to “empower” them so they can reach the level of knowledge of the teacher. But I truly believe each of them has valuable experience from their own context to bring to the classroom (that the rest of us have little knowledge of) and I hope my class is a place for them to learn from each other, for me to learn from them, and for them to reflect on their own experiences in ways they can take with them beyond the class so they can keep developing long after I am gone from their lives... 

I agree with what Maha writes.  Especially in the course that I teach I see learners working in various corporate departments, in a variety of fields, learners in higher education instructional design, in K-12 environments, and freelancers, too! This wealth of experience, not just in a variety of work environments, but also the variety of ages and experience in the classroom, is valuable to all learners, including me.

That said, luckily, I have not encouratered the realities that Maha has encountered.  The only reason I can think for this is that my course is further down the stream for most students.  Perhaps, by the time they come to the course that I teach they have already been primed by other professors. As far as research goes, there is nothing covert here ;-) If I am  experimenting with new practices I tell them upfront. Chances are high that I am tweaking something in the course to see what happens, and for instructional designers in training this is a teachable moment. No design is final, everything is up for reconsideration, everything is always to be examined for improvement.

The one thing I have come across, however, is the notion (by some learners) that I should better curate my readings.  I have both required readings and optional readings in my course. Some learners would be just as happy to have me remove the optional readings and make sure my required readings are the best readings that given them answers to everything they need to know about that module's topic.  This, however, is something I can't bring myself to do.  Readings aren't there just as a content dump.  I do pick readings that could be picked apart and critiqued. They may represent the view of some in the field, but whether that is canonical knowledge that every designer should know and abide by...well that's up for debate.  In this aspect, even though learners like the way I run/manage/facilitate/teach (RMFT) the course, some still feel more comfortable putting me on a pedestal and expecting the best of the best of the best for me to give them to consume. Quite interesting, and not at all unexpected. Luckily this isn't the majority of the learners.

Intent B: use the class to promote social justice, and a stance towards social justice and challenging the status quo.

This isn't something I do overtly. Should I be doing this overtly? Does it fit with the course? If so, how?  Good questions! I don't know. When I inherited the course there was an assignment in the early weeks, the weeks that stimulated prior knowledge (or at least gave a really quick bootcamp to the newbies that shouldn't have been assigned to the course due to pre-requisite requirements). The assignment was to find a television commercial and analyze it for the learning styles that it attempts to address (using the VARK framework). I should say that I am not a big fan of teaching learning styles.  While I do think that they begin the discussion and it allows us to think beyond our own preferences for learning, I do find that learners (in general) latch on to this and view instructional design through this lens, which isn't helpful (because there is no discussion).  They take VARK, and learning styles, as an innate fait accompli.

Anyway,  after I RMFT'd this course for a year and half, and it appeared that I would be the instructor of record, at least for now, I decided to tweak this assignment and not focus on specifically on learning styles, but on design in general, and the cultural predispositions to certain designs.  I also encouraged students, if they spoke other languages, to find ads from other countries and share and analyze those.  The assignment went well, but I still think it needs tweaking.  VARK still reared its ugly head. I think I will need to do some more thinking about how to better implement this assignment. I also think it didn't help that another instructor, in their course, used a similar assignment in the same week.  Talk about mixed signals.  This is probably as close as I come to social justice.  I wonder how others, who RMFT instructional design courses deal with this issue.  Instructional Design, as a field, seems quite structured and behavioristic.  Even though it's billed as the Art and Science of Instruction, the Art (and heart) seems to get lost in our processes.  Thoughts?

Intent C: Equal Participation for Students.  Maha Writes:

...which includes students calling me by my first name, and calling each other by their first names; it also includes everyone feeling they have a voice in class, that their contribution is equally valued and equally valuable. But even though Freire suggests that “dialogue cannot exist without humility”, Ellsworth is more realistic about the illusions of equality in dialogue. 
With equality I can see at least a couple of different levels: first the social aspect, which I never really consciously thought about because I always introduced myself as "AK", instead of the "professor". Ever since the first class I RMFT'd we were all on a first name basis.  I do wonder if this is both a function of the course being further down the stream (thus learners have already been prepared for a more equal level of participation), and due to my own education (where we were on a first name basis with our peers and the professors).

I must admit that this is not the equality that first came to mind when I read Maha's post.  The equality that came to mind is equal air-time in the forums, and how some will participate based on the letter of the rubric (3 posts per week, 1 original, 2 responses), and how others open themselves up to much more.  My first thought was that you can't dictate equality, i.e. I posted 10 posts so YOU must post 10 posts.  Upon consideration, I think that I'll keep equality as Maha defined it, but this other type of "equality" I will rename "freedom to participate as much or as little as you need."  I know that this is hard given my current rubric, which dictates certain levels of participation, but with my thoughts about taking this course and designing and redefining it as an (M)OOC‡ there is the opportunity to design a dip-in, jump-out mechanic for participation. I must admit I feel a bit uncomfortable designing this mechanic, both because I've been "schooled" in always including discussion in my online course designs, and because I think that there is better learning through participation. However, I don't think you can meaningfully dictate participation in class.  I may just make the course Pass/Fail, and use badges to distinguish between those who've done the minimum to reach that passing grade, and those who really took advantage of the learning opportunities afforded by their peers. (note to self - save this for dissertation proposal).

Your thoughts?

Side notes, side thoughts, miscellanea: 
† I had originally typed "my" classroom, but I changed this to "the" classroom, since I don't control the physical space (blackboard), and the course can always be given to another adjunct, so the course isn't even "mine" - quite an interesting thought, perhaps for another blog post, about the concept of property and how we apply it to our courses.
‡ Whether or not it's Massive still remains to be seen.  I suppose I should define what "massive" is before I run my experiment.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Πρώτη εβδομάδα στο Connected Courses: γιατί;

Έχω πολύ καιρό να γράψω κάτι σε αυτό το ιστολόγιο στα Ελληνικά, η τελευταία φορά ήταν το 2012 για ένα άλλο MOOC (ανοιχτό διαδικτυακό μάθημα που έχει πολλούς φοιτητές) το οποίο είχε αρκετούς συμμετέχοντες που είχαν ως μητρικές γλώσσες κάτι άλλο εκτός από Αγγλικά.  Έτσι λοιπόν, για να φέρουμε και άλλους ακαδημαϊκούς στο μάθημα, και να φέρουμε άλλους που προφανώς να μην μιλάνε Αγγλικά, είπα να αρχίσω να δημοσιεύω και στα Ελληνικά.  Μπορεί να μην γράψει κανένας άλλος στα Ελληνικά αλλά τουλάχιστον την προσπάθειά μου την έκανα :-).

Το θέμα αυτή την εβδομάδα είναι το “γιατί;” στην εκπαίδευση. Έχω γράψει ήδη (στα Αγγλικά) για άλλα τύπου “γιατί;” αλλά σε αυτό το δημοσίευμα ήθελα να ασχοληθώ λίγο με το τι διδάσκουμε στα μαθήματά μας.  Τα μαθήματα που διδάσκω είναι για μεταπτυχιακούς φοιτητές, και έχουν ως θεματολογία την εκπαίδευση, κυρίως την δια βίου και εξ αποστάσεως εκπαίδευση.  Οι φοιτητές μου είναι από 28 έως και 68.  Ένα από τα μαθήματά που θέλω να μάθουν είναι το πως να είναι από μόνοι τους φοιτητές, δηλαδή μαθητές δια βίου, να μπορούν να λύνουν μόνοι τους (ή με την βοήθεια κοντινών φίλων και συνάδελφων) μη συγκεκριμένα προβλήματα (ill defined problems), χρησιμοποιώντας την τεχνολογία.  Οπότε αντί να τους δώσω 10 τρόπους να χρησιμοποιούν μπλόγκ, twitter, youtube, κτλ. στα δικά τους εκπαιδευτικά σχέδια να μπορούν μόνοι τους να εφεύρουν λύσεις νέες. Λύσεις που δεν υπάρχουν ήδη, και να είναι κάτι που δεν είναι προκαθορισμένο από τον καθηγητή.  Το πρόβλημα είναι πως, σε γενικές γραμμές, όταν έχω φοιτητές στο μάθημα μου πολλοί θέλουν να τους διδάξω το πως να χρησιμοποιήσουν την τεχνολογία (μηχανικά, όχι δημιουργικά) και δεν έχουν το αέρα να σκεφτούν δημιουργικά.

Την περασμένη εβδομάδα, στο διδακτορικό μου σεμινάριο είχαμε ως καλεσμένο τον George Siemens, γνωστός από θέματα όπως το Learning Analytics και τα MOOC, και των ρώτησα άμα γνωρίζει έρευνες οι οποίες κοιτάνε το πως μπορούμε (ίσως) να δημιουργήσουμε ένα γόνιμο εκπαιδευτικό περιβάλλον όπου οι φοιτητές να έχουν αυτόν τον αέρα, να είναι δημιουργικοί, και να μπορούμε άμεσα να μπαίνουμε εντός θέματος - δηλαδή την χρήση της τεχνολογίας για να λύσουμε εκπαιδευτικά προβλήματα, και όχι την χρήση τεχνολογίας απλός για να μάθουμε πως δουλεύει. Η απάντηση δεν μου άρεσε και τόσο ;-). Προς το παρόν όλη η έρευνα είναι για το πως να διδάξουμε την τεχνολογία μηχανικά, και όχι δημιουργικά.  Από την μια πλευρά έχω (ίσως) θέμα για διδακτορική διατριβή, από την άλλη όμως δεν με βοηθά με το άμεσο θέμα του μαθήματος μου.  Ίσως είναι καιρός να πειραματιστώ

Το θέμα, λοιπόν, είναι ως εξής: γιατί διδάσκουμε τεχνολογία με τόσου στείρους τρόπους;  Γιατί δεν διδάσκουμε περί τεχνολογίας με τον τελικό σκοπό την σκόπιμη χρήση για την επίλυση προβλημάτων; Και, φυσικά, πώς μπορούμε από το μπορώ να το χρησιμοποιήσω το χ, στο γνωρίζω πως να λύσω ψ με χ;

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thoughts on teaching - provoked by Connected Courses

Wow, it's not even Wednesday noon (half-way through week 1 of module 1) in Connected Courses and the feed is buzzing with the title (and/or #whyiteach).  Quite interesting.  Lots of things saved to pocket.  I will most likely read through them this weekend ;-)  In any case, I joked on twitter earlier that I should write a post on why I don't teach (who knows, this post may evolve to that near the end), but for now, I thought I would address some questions, and riff off of, or build upon, some comments from Randy, Cathy and Mike from this week's live session.

The first question asked was: What was your favorite class to teach? I've only really taught two classes. I've directed workshops and one-on-one tutorials in the past, however these were really one-offs and there wasn't sustained engagement.   The first class I ever (really) taught was a course that I designed to introduce graduate students in instructional design to research methods.  This was a special topic that hasn't returned to the roster yet.  The course that I generally teach is INSDSG 684: The Design and Instruction of Online Courses.  I think the best class (up to now anyway) was last spring semester.  The reason why I particularly like this group of individuals was because in this specific group more people recognized the contributions that others had made to their thinking. Granted, I did offer a design badge that was voted on by peers, but this was at the end of the semester. I actually saw people acknowledging their classmate's help as early as half-way through the semester, which is something that amazed, and delighted me.

A related question to this was: Worst class ever taught? Since my experience in teaching is limited, I don't really have a worst class taught.  I do have some examples of worst workshops I've taught, and they were all around the use of PowerPoint.   Many undergraduates, and graduates, came to my workshops for Microsoft Office, and PowerPoint was a popular one. Students came in, and the first thing they wanted to know is how to make graphics spin, and zoom, and do all sorts of funky stuff. I had to work really hard at not rolling my eyes.  By the time they left the workshop at least they understood that your presentation doesn't start with the flashy things, but with actual content and flow of information.  What they did after was their own business - I just hope they didn't succumb to the temptation to add pizazz by adding unnecessary animations ignoring their message.

Finally the last question I jotted down was: What is Higher Education about? Oh man, is this a big question! To be honest it seems to me that Higher Education is all things to all people.  It seems to be a universal panacea, and that it is not. In our EdD cohort we recently got an article from our course instructor, from the economist, about trade education.  This generated some interesting discussion among the cohort. I know that when I was in high school higher education seemed like a no-brainer, something you should do, and don't even bother with trades.  Even classes like shop-class (wood-shop, metal-shop, automotive stuff) seemed to be pushed to the side, and things like computers were emphasized. I tend to adopt a more middle of the road attitude.  While not everyone will want (or like to) be an electrician, plumber, auto mechanic, at the same time not everyone wants to be a physicist, or philosopher, or political scientist. I do think, however, that a good mix of the two is what we should strive for.  I'd like to know how to diagnose my own car issues, or fix my own (minor) electrical issues, and I would like to think about things like what it means to be in higher education.  The proportions for me would be different than someone else, but there is still a mix, and the individual determines what that mix is.

So, what is the purpose of higher education?  For me, higher education is not something that you go to in order to get a job. For me it seems like a waste of time and money to get a BA just to enter the workforce. It also seems like an unfair "tax" on those members of society that can least afford to pay for education that would get them a job in order to be "productive members of society".  This is especially egregious when considering that for some fields what one learns as a freshman (as far as content) is outdated by the time they graduate.   Thus, for me higher education is about life long learning.  It's about learning to engage with peers, of various sorts, on a variety of issues.  At the BA level it's also about a lot of content knowledge that will give you a grounding to be a self-directed lifelong learner, but at its very core higher education for me is about that pursuit of lifelong learning. That is timeless.

There are a few things that also stood out in this live session. I think I will pick my top three to discuss:

Purpose drive course vs content driven course 
I don't remember what the context was for this comment, and I do remember seeing it on twitter as well. I  think this is a false dichotomy. Each course has a purpose, and each course has content.  If you look at syllabi, even if it's just a façade, there are learning objectives for the course. In course design there needs to be some sort of synergy between your activities, content, and assessment, and all of those need to tie into the goals set forth by those learning objectives.  You could have some really poorly designed courses that appear to be a major content dump (banking model of education?) but in theory the are purpose driven, not content driven.  Content should support purpose, and purpose is not devoid of content.

Arrrr, it's a mutiny!
Cathy Davidson mentioned that one of the fears of instructors is the course mutiny. What do you do when students take over the course and don't do what you want to? You can always wield the authority stick, but I don't think students will respect you for it. I suppose at the end of the day it depends on why the student's are mutinying and taking over.  If the students just don't want to do any work (and get a grade for it), there are potential issues there (especially if there is no way to pass some assessment of prior learning!). Instead of giving them an "F", you can give them an incomplete grade (which at my institution defaults to an "F" after 1 year) if the students do not demonstrate attainment of the learning objectives for the course through some sort of means that they come up with.  You could then leverage their push-back against what you've designed for the course to have them design their own environment and can nudge them gently to fill any gaps that they have but they are blind to.  Personally I am not afraid of the mutiny since it's an opportunity to work together on a class constitution that is mutually agreed upon and we can go from there. I am willing to take a chance - it's a learning experience. I would just expect learners to be bound by the conditions we agree upon.

You've made the grade!
Cathy Davidson was mentioning an interesting fact: the ABCD grading system didn't enter academia until the mid-1800s and once it entered it spread like wildfire.  Pretty interesting that this grading scheme has been with us for less than 200 years, yet we treat it with reverence. While it is longer than I will ever live, this only goes back to the time of my great-grandfather, so in relative terms it's quite new.  Fascinating!  Cathy was openly braistorming about using Badges as a way to remedy issues with assessment in her courses. Cathy has been lurking on the OpenBadges MOOC for a while now in pursuit of this.  I have to say that I am also considering this for my 684 course.  A good point made was that you: don't fail Karate, you just don't move up to the next rank.  Why fail someone, just  don't give a badge.  Of course, when the University structure gives you a sandbox (the grading scheme) and limited time (a semester), you may have earned so many badges, but when you tally them up, if you haven't leveled up to a certain point, this will be reflected in your grade.

As for my course, the badge experiment last spring was more behavioral in nature.  I did give out a badge to everyone who satisfactorily completed their final project, but  I trid to stay away from awarding badges for things that were evaluated and had point values on the overal course grading rubric.  My course, I think, is in need of a redesign. Now that it's been re-numbered as a higher level course (it used to be 619), I am thinking of removing some early modules that were preparatory (in case people hadn't been exposed to certain concepts in other courses) and reworking the course.  I am thinking of a  1+ 7 + 4 model.  One week of introduction, 7 weeks of content, 4 weeks of development, iteration, and peer review. As I am thinking of making this course into a MOOC (perhaps using Siemens' xMOOC/cMOOC hybrid concept) I think I will re-develop 684 into an open course over the span of the next couple of years (assuming my concept if accepted as a dissertation topic)

Why do I teach?
OK, OK... I will answer your question.  I teach because I want to share what I know, and I want to learn what I don't know.  It's the same reason I joined internet forums like HowardForums, and PDAlive back in the day :)

Question for all of you out there that are still reading:  Mike Wesch asked this: What sort of social contracts do you need in order to make a connected course work?  What do you think?