Introducing the “Distributed Flip”Posted: April 11, 2013
So I think with the recent San Jose State news people may finally start to pay attention to the use of MOOCs and MOOC-like things to support blended learning, a match-up we’ve been supporting here for a while.
Good, and glad to see it. Although there is still this pesky little issue of what to call such things. The term “wrapped MOOC” is tied to the M-word in ways likely to be unhelpful in 12 months, and it can get a bit difficult at times to figure out what is wrapping what.
Amy Collier’s been talking about some of the stuff we’ve been looking at (and some of the newer stuff Stanford is doing) as “distributed flips”. When I asked her what was behind the name she told me that “You have a slide deck, you’ve got a presentation tomorrow, you’ve got to call it something.”
(OK, that’s a paraphrase. But it was along those lines.)
Initially I rebelled — aren’t all flipped classroom designs distributed in some sense? But the more I thought on it, the more it made sense.
In most flipped scenarios, content creation is distributed. Sometimes assessment as well. I create my course as a sequence, and then go out and find individually created content that suits my narrative and supports the flow of my course. On this chapter we’re doing standard deviation — grab Video X from Khan Academy. This one is on confounding — pull this material from OLI. But I, and I alone, own the flow. It’s my course with their pieces.
A distributed flip goes further. In a distributed flip content curation is distributed. Sequencing is distributed. Community may be distributed. There are in fact (at least) two separate streams of the course, each coherent in itself, with (at least) two separate curators, sequencers, creators, assessors working independently of one another. The person offering the face-to-face course has to sync up, at least partially, with the other stream or streams. But control over almost every aspect of the course can be distributed through multiple providers using a somewhat looser coupling than traditional digital materials.
What strikes me as particularly useful about the term is it sets up a discussion of the different ways parts of the class can be distributed across multiple providers. It also focuses people on the particular questions MOOCs raise when used in the blended format, questions that were with us before MOOCapalooza and will be with us long after MOOCapalooza has been absorbed into other efforts. It’s a term that pulls back the camera a bit and reveals the bigger picture, after a year and a half of tight focus on a small piece of that picture.
Of course, it doesn’t quite have that “word of the year” zestiness…..
But we’re working on it (it’s a lot of letters!!!!!)