Feed on

I’ve just joined another MOOC (this is my second to date, the first was Change11), and I’m excited about it. It’s “First Steps into Learning & Teaching in Higher Education“, and I’m hoping that it will both support my work to help faculty improve their teaching & will also help me with design, delivery, and evaluation of my own teaching practice.

I’m happy to have completed the first Teaching with Technology Symposium at Tufts yesterday & the day before. Many colleagues & I worked hard to design, develop, and deliver this new event & although results from the official evaluations have not yet been compiled, I was very happy with the event & have received very positive feedback from many faculty who attended.

Eric Mazur, how ca we foster/teach innovation? Teach real problem solving & to encourage risk taking. We learn by practicing, very little by listening to lectures.

Education is not just the transmission of information. Not being able to transfer learning to new contexts is the hallmark of lack of learning. Traditional assessments discourage risk taking, focuses on outcome not process, is individual, does not mirror future work env’t, so discourages real learning.

Assimilation happens outside of class now; should flip this because transmission is the easy part (case study as first example of flipped classroom.) Pinker’s Curse of Knowledge, students are better qualified to teach other new learners because they remember the problems. Question > think > poll > discuss (30+% right) > repoll > explain; start again.

Lectures give a false sense of security for both faculty & students because they do not reveal misconceptions. Recent MIT study shows that brain activity is less during lecture than anything else. Mazur.harvard.edu


Paul Lewis, “Forgotten Chapters in Boston Literary History”, seminar & exhibit at BPL & online. Project in civic humanities & digital humanities. Use student research to take work into the community.

“How did Poe know that Longfellow’s reputation would not hold up?”. Opportunity to celebrate our literary heritage, Boston was not on AAA guide to best literary sites. Lack of identifying marks on important buildings, eg early American feminists. Old Corner Bookstore, most important site for literary Boston is now Chipotle with only a tiny sign.

Course had some funding.

Tablet pilot this semester (or year?)

- gave faculty choice of device, 20+ chose iPad, 3 Pc tablet

- first faculty member (statistics): used with lecture captureannotating screen worked well, quite a few challenges (classroom design, switching between devices, stylus not fine enough for everything, popups & log outs.)

- second faculty member (art history on site in Italy); used iPad to show images (eg church blueprint) while inside building, easier thanphotocopies. Apps, hard to find academic content, some good stuff from museums, Virtual History Roma (from publishing house), interactive 3d model of Rome, eTextbook.

- 3rd faculty member (history), working with rare books. Student take iPad to library to take images based on a task, use MediaKron to display & work with images. Didn’t work. Big maps, would be better to ask librarian to scan. Getting images off iPad was awkward.

Very interesting news yesterday about Harvard & MIT announcing Edx.  It will be very interesting to see where it goes & what changes it accelerates and/or transforms in higher education.

Some people call the types of courses being offered in this way MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).  The Edx promo video highlights these features of the initiative:

  • planet-scale
  • technology enabled
  • access for all
  • connected learning
  • shared platform
  • enriching campuses

And the organizers “expect to transform learning in the classroom along with the learning online.”

I’ve been participating (lightly) in a MOOC this year addressing similar themes & that site is a great resource, called Change11.

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