UMW & Event-ness, RevisitedPosted: October 15, 2012
I have been slowly repairing the damage the great database corruption of 2010/2011 did to my blog posts, pulling them over from Archive.org and trying to get them back into my blog. Today I came across this one from May 2010, which among other things contains this graf about what I saw on my 2010 visit to UMW:
All this should have been clear to me before, and it was, kind of, on some level. But I’ve been so blinded by Learning 2.0 rhetoric I think I’ve missed the obvious — many of the best course blogs engage with the outside world not to break down the traditional class-world distinction, but in some ways to enhance it. By engaging publicly with the outside world the class gels. The “we are this class and you are the world” distinction is stronger, but also conceptualized in a much more productive way.
It occurs to me how much of my thinking since then has been informed by that. In part, my focus on Residential Online (or local online, or whatever you want to call it) has been driven by the belief that the tension between the local face-to-face experience and the open online experience is far richer than either component on its own. And my obsession with wrapping large national online courses in a local, faculty-mediated experience is motivated not by the students needing “guidance” (this is no flipped classroom approach) — but again, by the productive tension that a subcohort exhibits when part of a large international cohort.
I still think its amazing that UMW paid me to speak there, considering how much I walked away learning. It’s almost unfair. Seeing what was going on there at the time in first person, talking to the students and the teachers involved — it was like looking three or four years into the future. And it led me to the the realization that I think people have still not fully grasped — that the true future of online education exists at the intersection of a localized experience and global community — and that combination will not undermine the local “event-ness” of courses, but supercharge it in ways we haven’t seen yet….the dawn of the open is also the rebirth of the local.