Straddling Multiple Worlds in a MOOC

I’ve done it. I’ve signed up for Connected Courses, mapped my blog to my own domain (and paid the $), downloaded WordPress, and added my blog to the syndicated list. I must be out of my mind. Why, you ask? Here’s the list.

Lately, this is how I feel

Lately, this is how I feel

  • I’m writing my dissertation and planning to Be Done this year. The title, Breaking Open the Wor(l)d: New Literacies, the World Wide Web, and the English of the Future  captures some of the worlds I feel I’m straddling: literacies, semiotics, English as a secondary school subject (epistemologies of). Ha– I just had to pause to look up the title on my proposal. I leave it to you to discern what that might mean. (Seriously, though, after a lot of floundering thinking and rethinking, I feel that I’m now off and writing with a bang.
  • I’ve tried to participate in two other MOOCs and ended up abandoning them. I just could never figure out how they worked. Connected Courses seems to have a different and very clear structure. I’m hoping that makes the difference.
  • I’m participating with several connections in mind. Yes, I’m somewhat affiliated with higher ed — I wonder about the possibilities of a MOOC within a more typical teacher education program– but I’m also, maybe more so, a secondary person. I’m convinced that with the increasing evil of standardized testing and the corporatization of public education, the dropout rate is going to soar. I wonder if a MOOC could leverage the out-of-school literacy practices of youth and keep them connected to a very different model of schooling. I need more experience with MOOCs to further that thinking. So I’m straddling camps, as it were.

BUT. I’m curious.

I loved that Jim Groom talked about wanted to support people in getting into the under-the-hood aspects of a blog. I’m not doing this out of a conviction that learning to code will change the education world– this post on Medium expresses some thoughts I’ve been considering. I want to see what I might discover from my own experience of tinkering— maybe I’m wrong and coding will change the world. (Maker-ism and all.) I think it could be fun.

FWIW, I’m not one for academic writing in my blog. I just like to think out loud. My posts will probably be brief and sporadic.

I’m also not one for couching my opinions in niceties. I happen to have a few of them and I feel them deeply and urgently. I’m for kids. Teachers. Schooling that makes sense to kids. OK, that was a nicety. If I could explode some thinking about what makes schooling, I would. I’ve told my MA students that I anticipate that they will become upset in my classes. That seems to happen. Maybe it will happen here, too. Oh well….


Photo mariachily via photopin cc



2 responses to “Straddling Multiple Worlds in a MOOC”

  1. Howard Rheingold says:

    Hello Karen, and welcome aboard! I like that you aim to upset your students. When I first started teaching, with no training, I found Postman and Weingarten’s “Teaching as a Subversive Activity” to be very helpful. Do you know it?

    • admin says:

      Absolutely. I read it years ago and reread it regularly to keep myself fresh. I love that “Crap Detection” was given as a speech at an NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) convention in 1969. I appreciate the way you use the term in your work. Hmmm. Maybe TAASA should be the first reading assigned in a course. Have you tried it? Thanks for reading & commenting.

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