Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

Connnected Courses – another MOOC

I usually lurk in most of these courses. Not because I do not feel a part of them.. it is just me. I have been “lurking” since The Well. I was fortunate to be on the internet early on and have watch it evolve. I have been involved with MOOC’s since their beginning and I am a Howard Rheingold University alum. 

But now, like Howard I see my end in all of this and hope to be creating more art and gardening soon. Maybe we can set up a senior group of some kind –  a online retirement home for us. At least I just saw an research article that said old people who use social media have less of a problem with their memory and depression than others. Maybe my PLN and addiction to MOOCs will keep my mind sharp in my old age.  I can be digitally forever young (Second Lilfe).

I had high hopes, but the change has been slow. I even got a Masters of Education in eLearning late in life hoping to help people/businesses/institutions make a change, but finding a job has been hard. I do work at a University now starting as a temp and now full time working on the department website, graphics and social media, but most of the faculty do not have much more than a website for their labs. Even the youngsters working on their PhD seem hesitant to be online much beyond LinkedIn.

As far as education in this research environment.. well.. it is still old school. They identify themselves as “research scientists” and not “teaching” professors. As one of recently stated “If I put up videos, they will not go to class”. One of our professors who was teaching is retiring. He was old school, but he cared and his students loved him. He would go out of his way to make sure everyone understood what he was talking about. Now 6 people who have never taught undergrads are teaching that class. Two are close to 70 years old, and 2 – well.. trying to be politically correct, English is not their native language. None of these 6 want to do this, they can either leave or teach a basic science class. I was so mad… I was walking down the hall, saying under my breath, “let it go”…. “let it go”…  Then, I had to organize the class into folders for each of them and the other day, I was copying the first test for them (yes, scantron – because the grades are adjusted) ….I almost cried….

I can see the disruption going on around the universities. It is everywhere, but few here seem to notice it. The ivy tower has kept these people protected from the world around them. The department chair was much shaken the other day, when she realized some of these people are going to lose their jobs soon. Research is not only losing money, it too is evolving. Right now I am listening to the NIH talk about moving research into “big data” and away from publication. The equipment the students are using in the labs are becoming quickly obsolete.