Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Addition to the Western World View: Talking to Rocks

A number of events this week remind me of the world of multiple perspectives. One was a post-graduation survey I took from the last institution I attended asking whether diverse cultural perspectives were present in course readings, discussions, and assignments. Then this afternoon I was talking to a colleague who is advising on a science curriculum that also includes cultural competencies.

As synchronicity would have it, a past student posted this video on her FB page today. It added to my memory of a Vine Deloria, Jr. book that talked about the Lakota description of rocks as envoys between the earth and other beings. Albert here also takes the discussion to what it is to a being in the Lakota culture in contrast to the Western explanation.

Rocks are Relatives from Jennifer Page on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"A Manifesto for Teaching Online"

Looking at the related site for this video, I am so pleased to see these tenets come forward. It articulates many of the really critical ideas, beginning with the very statement that online is not lesser, but a "difference of location."

Ever since I first learned about Moore's definition of distance as a 'psychological construct," I thought about how a person could as much experience distance in a physical classroom, let alone online. And this is only the beginning of all this manifesto expresses.

Also memorable is the tenet is that "Each course design is the expression of a philosophy and practice."

I found this next statement to be quite provocative: "Teaching should not be downgraded to facilitation." I've been calling what I do facilitation in that it describes a guide role rather than the traditional instructor at the front. Yet this statement surfaced something that has really been part of my practice--to bring resources and opportunities to the online course in response to learning needs, interests, and requests. And the flexibility to do so can happen if course elements are not locked down.

Originating from the University of Edinborough, "It is a series of brief statements that attempt to capture what is generative and productive about online teaching, course design, writing, assessment and community."

A manifesto for teaching online from Jen Ross on Vimeo.

I encourage you to visit the accompanying website. Visiting the site will provide more information on its intention--to forward dialogue about these ideas: