The things I do for this blog.

1 09 2011

A few weeks ago, WordPress re-did their program again so that immediately after you post something, they tell you how many posts you have on your blog. That’s why I know that when I hit “publish,” this will be my 1000th post. Honestly, I should just go back and delete at least 500 of the others. Whenever I catch a peak at my “Sarah Palin” category down from here and to the right, I always ask myself, “Why did I even bother?”

A few months ago, I set some ground rules for the blog going into the summer: Write only when I have something to say and have the time to post. I think that’s worked very well so far, so I’m going to keep following those rules going forward. It also helps that I seem to have found a useful and popular theme for this little writing endeavor.

After educational technology, my secondary theme is going to stay one that I’ve had since pretty close to the first post here: academic labor issues. The two are related, you know. Take this line coming from the University of Southern New Hampshire that I spotted yesterday:

The vision is that students could sign up for self-paced online programs with no conventional instructors.

They mean to take your jobs. Somebody needs to sound the alarm, so it might as well be me.

All this is actually a lead up to how I spent three and a half hours of my morning this morning. I went to a seminar titled “Making the Move to Hybrid & Online Courses.” I’d like to tell you that I had an excruciating time, but I didn’t. It was kind of like visiting another country. For one thing, I was literally the only person in the room from the humanities (and the faculty from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at CSU-Pueblo outnumber those at all the other schools put together). I asked a few “Ugly American” questions and got measured, interesting responses as well as enough blog material for the next ten posts.

I’ll cover just one small thing for now because it aligns so well with Britney’s guest post here. When discussing discussion boards, our facilitator mentioned that he thinks that you can only have a good online discussion in groups of twenty people or less, so if you have a class with a hundred students in it, you should break it up into five groups. In response, I asked, “Isn’t that five times as much work for the professor?” To which he suggested that faculty shouldn’t read everything that gets posted.

Leave the problem that Britney introduced to us and the question of educational quality aside for a moment. Let’s go back to the University of Southern New Hampshire’s explicit objective: If students can take a class without professors, pretty soon they’ll do without professors entirely.

Do you want to wake up one day and find out that your profession has gone the way of bank tellers and travel agents? What are you going to do about it?

Update: There are no fireworks or whistles when you publish your 1000th post on WordPress. It does, however, say “Impressive!” after the post number.

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8 responses

1 09 2011
Middle Seaman

He in “he suggested” took his online teaching class online. Our people were not more helpful. They couldn’t address simple technical questions and educational issues were way above their heads. The boss lady was very arrogant and exuded “I am better than you” stench. It was very encouraging.

People hang on to terms and ideas without ever thinking about them. Online seems fancy, powerful, cheap, eternal. You take an online course written in 2008 and use it until 2050. Why not?

The scary part is the similar idiots are running the country and demolishing everything in their path.

2 09 2011
An answer to UD’s questions. « More or Less Bunk

[...] that I asked at the “Making the Move to Hybrid & Online Courses” seminar that I went to yesterday was that one I picked up from Margaret Soltan: Basically, how do you know that the person on the [...]

3 09 2011
“Time has come today.” « More or Less Bunk

[...] education too until I went to that seminar on “Making the Move to Hybrid and Online Courses” last week. [Despite all that stuff about "lecture capture" that I read a few weeks ago.] Our facilitator [...]

3 09 2011
notofgeneralinterest

“to which he suggested that faculty shouldn’t read everything that gets posted.” This is why the person is a “facilitator” and not a teacher or professor–a real one, I mean. I have been hearing this advice for many years and can tell you that students (1) know that you’re not reading their work and (2) hate it.

Self-paced online programs may be good for some technical things, like learning voltages or something. For the humanities, not so much.

5 09 2011
Online education and academic freedom. « More or Less Bunk

[...] is going to be the last of the posts I write directly inspired by that seminar I went to last week. It might also be the most [...]

8 09 2011
Think of the children! « More or Less Bunk

[...] Any kind of teaching that can be reduced to a routine is, by definition, really bad teaching. Unfortunately, that’s not stopping most universities from trying to do this anyways. Put ninety students in a survey class, and the professor has to make compromises. Run an online discussion section with a hundred students, and professors will stop reading all the comments. [...]

30 05 2012
Digital sharecropping: Higher education edition. « More or Less Bunk

[...] already seen signs of this trend before. [You can see a couple of them in this post from last September.] I thought of this again in the middle of an argument with Stephen Downes [...]

11 07 2012
“[S]olitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” « More or Less Bunk

[...] the initiative to put this kind of care into your classes? But why just pick on adjuncts? This from a post I did last year after attending a seminar on “Making the Move to Hybrid and Online [...]

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