What I learned in that online course

I may have failed it due to diffident and careless work. I am just like the students, doing things resentfully. I was reminded of Bloom’s taxonomy, which has its uses. I already knew, and had views on the discourse of student learning objectives. I knew course materials and activities should be coordinated to these, and I knew that websites need to be accessible/readable to those reading them in ways I do not expect, as in, transferred to voice, or read in a non-WYSIWYG way. I glimpsed a possible critique of “module learning.” Is this always a good thing, and how truly different is it from having a textbook and going through the chapters? I was put off by the terminology used. Students are “learners.” There aren’t faculty, there are “facilitators.” Then there are “subject matter experts” and a “course representative.” But for me, a course is interaction between a professor and students on a topic, and what makes it a college or university level course is that that professor has chosen good materials that fit their focus, and is teaching things they know and are working on, not merely administering a product. This point about interaction even describes multi-semester, multi-section courses with a common textbook that has been commercially produced. The course uses the book but has still been designed in house by a professor, and even in, say, Foreign Language or Calculus 1 taught by a graduate student, the key is the interaction between that person teaching and the students. Once again, they are there to teach, not to administer a product. There is much said now about how students must “take responsibility for their own learning.” But learning how to study has always meant this and it does not mean they are working their way through a textbook on their own. In current pedagogy, that DOES seem to be what it means: you memorize the textbook and reproduce its discourse on examinations, that a “facilitator” grades. This isn’t education, it’s corporate training at best, and there is no critical thinking or creativity involved. All of these things are serious problems. Axé.

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