This Week in ODL: Aug 28 – Sept 1, 2017

Design and the Beauty of Palimpsests: Blog Post by Amy Collier

Last week, ODL’s Amy Collier published a blog post reflecting on the nature of instructional design, especially as it relates to the work and world that students bring to learning. In keeping with the ODL’s interest in revising and expanding the meaning of “instructional design”, and especially in exploring what a critical instructional design might look like, Amy’s post dives into how design frames learning, and how learning should and could frame design.

Amy writes,

I am taken with palimpsest as a design principle. It intentionally values what is being brought to a design conversation (a user’s experiences, previous design work, etc) rather than trying to always disrupt, destroy, or replace what was previously created. It highlights complexity as a design feature, not a bug. It respects history. It makes space for the past to play a role in the future.

Similarly, Amy argues that the palimpsest (a compound word that literally means ‘scraped clean and ready to be used again’) is a way of looking at student learning, “that it accrues and traces on individual students’ histories and humanities–what they already bring to the educational environment.” Teaching should respond to this, and so should design. To read Amy’s blog post in its entirety, click here.

Open Education as Resistance: MOOCs and Critical Digital Pedagogy

ODL is happy to announce that Sean Michael Morris has published a book chapter in a new book from the University of Chicago Press, MOOCs and Their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education. The chapter, penned with his long-time collaborator Jesse Stommel, is the result of a talk they delivered at OpenEd 2012 titled “If Freire Made a MOOC.” In the chapter, Sean discusses the relationship between critical pedagogy and the massive open online course, and the role that critical pedagogy plays in digital learning broadly writ. Sean argues that,

We are better users of technology when we are thinking critically about the nature and effects of that technology. What we must do is work to encourage students and ourselves to think critically about new tools (and, more importantly, the tools we already use). And when we’re looking for solutions, what we most need to change is our thinking and not our tools.

The article works through a definition and methodology for Critical Digital Pedagogy, and offers five principles for digital learning:

  1. A course is a conversation not a static reservoir or receptacle for content.
  2. Education cannot be compulsory. The work of learning starts with agency.
  3. Best practices are snake oil.
  4. Outcomes should give way to epiphanies.
  5. Learning should not be structured to conform to assessment mechanisms.

Each of these principles aligns with the way that the Office of Digital Learning approaches instructional design, and provide a basic structural approach to developing online and digital learning resources.


Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Office of Digital Learning

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