Thursday, 17 January 2013
Renaissance of Education?
So several thoughts crossed my mind this morning as I was preparing for work. First is the idea of a digital persona and the idea of cheating and accreditation. This was in response to a tweet by Cathy Anderson, discussing biometrics to stop cheating in moocs. It makes me wonder if we can offer old school type accreditation in a mooc, but is cheating new? And is the idea of "cheating" cultural as well since these courses are global? Or is this a western idea? If I ask for help in a xmooc, and the answer is given to me, is that cheating? If I use the communication tools at hand I can ask the crowd to collaborate. Isn't that what we are hoping to do here? So is that cheating? Why is it in one type of mooc we look at collaboration as a positive and in the other as a potential source of abuse? I believe moocs are being tainted by trying to apply the old way of educating (and making money) to a new process of learning. I was also thinking about copyright and the idea of making money from human produced content. The books and printing press responsible for the Renaissance were not copyrighted which allowed for widespread dissemination of classical texts. Now we have wide spread dissemination of information through newer mediums (albeit sometimes violating copyright), so might this be the dawn of a new Renaissance? A new way of thinking? And a new way of making a living? As the printing press changed how people made their living (being able to write down their ideas instead of being a troubadour or storyteller) and the record player (CD, itunes) changed how singers made their living (live vs recorded) are the new ways of communicating changing how we make a living from teaching and writing? (since if you have access to the internet you can create and upload content, you can teach from home, you can study from home.) Can we crowdsource higher ed? And if this happens, how do we re-imagine accreditation? Will we need the infrastructure to support education in the same way in the future if collaboration can be done from a location other than a central physical location? May educational institutions go the way of empty churches in Canada, as spaces to be re-imagined or torn down? I believe we are watching a great cultural shift in education and communications that began with the telephone and radio.