I’m approaching the final segment of my second MOOC at Coursera, E-learning and Digital Cultures. The class isn’t what I expected – it’s more philosophical and less practical, more about the trans-human and less about the mechanics of how to use the internet in learning. It’s also more video-based than text-based, which is a problem for me because I don’t really enjoy watching videos (I know, I’m weird). Still, I can see how it’s appropriate to look at these philosophical digressions along the way to tackling my own questions.
I came into this class with two big questions:
- How can I and other adults in my island community make use of these online learning opportunities?
- I just want to take classes that interest me, possibly sometimes to further my career but mostly just for personal growth and development. And for fun.
- I think that others can use this to further their careers and branch out in new directions, contributing to the diversification of the island economy by developing skills that can be used and marketed online, and are not dependent on our old-timey seasonal economy. The flip side is that we will be in competition with others taking advantage of these same resources, most of whom live in places with a lower cost of living.
- How will this (the internet) impact my children’s education? What do they need to learn as children to make the most of the opportunities available to them as they grow up and learn more and more?
- I’ve mostly answered this for myself – advanced literacy and critical thinking skills. The most important thing is to be able to understand and evaluate information, evidence, and arguments. It’s a big liberal-artsy skill, but includes math and science literacy, too. Kids still need, more than ever, a well-rounded education in humanities, science, social science, etc. with an emphasis on critical thinking. That’s what people need to make anything out of this vast flood of information.
- The other thing I think is that perpetual availability of learning opportunities means that there’s a certain lack of urgency. You’re not going to learn everything in school. Learning doesn’t end with graduation. Schools don’t control access to knowledge or information. They can help tremendously with learning, but it’s quite possible that self-teaching will make the same kind of gains that self-publishing has in recent years. Not totally equivalent, but with some parallels, especially when you think of the process in terms of quality control, and responsibility for the product/process.
I’m planning a final installment in this #edcmooc series, which I’ll post sometime next week. I might even make a leap and put up a video, but don’t count on it!