Teaching is the enforcement of norms, we should deal with that.

OK, I’m overstating it a little for effect. But I just read Dave’s post, and I have to take issue with this:

Assessing what someone ‘knows’ is an act of enforcement of a given point of view, not a(n apolotical) helpful guideline to learning

Education is a means of cultural transmission. And I think it can take many forms, everything from MOOCs to skill drills.

But there’s this weird resonance in that quote that somehow a cMOOC

a)  Is apolitical, and
b) Lacks enforcement of norms

and that seems wrong to me. Part of the reason people get involved with MOOCs and online communities of inquiry is, in fact, to learn from people what it is they “need to know”. They want to be acculturated!  Noobs, famously, don’t know what they need to know, and are promptly corrected by the community. And that correction is provided in the context of an internal power structure that the online community develops.

So you have hierarchical assessment, even in a MOOC. You don’t design it, you don’t map it out, you don’t credential it. But you might as well admit that in a Connectivism MOOC a comment by George on how he thinks you are getting Connectivism wrong is, at least from a functional perspective

a) hierarchical
b) formative assessment

And together the reactions to your contributions form the MOOC’s assessment. Why run from that?

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One Comment on “Teaching is the enforcement of norms, we should deal with that.”

  1. Mike Caulfield says:

    So I should never edit things down at the last minute, because as Dave points out he does touch on this point. I’ll post my longer discussion of this point soon, but basically there seems to me a separation he makes between what might be construed as formative assessment from key figures on elements of an individual’s thinking versus assessment of whether an individual knows what they “ought to know.”

    My point about the noob was that noobs are not noobs because they are wrong on specific things — they are noobs because they don’t know the basic stuff you should know to participate in the community. So if Dave comes by on this post and says — don’t be such a noob, Mike, we have discussed this a billion times, see the Connectivism Community FAQ here — in that case I actually am being assessed on whether I know what I should know. And in fact, that’s extremely helpful to me, because I want to get to a point in the community where I have the requisite knowledge to participate at a high level — please tell me what it is I don’t know that I should know!


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