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MOOCs, DOCCS, and Hybrid Teaching - Mar 18, 3:00 pm, White Hall 102

Tuesday, March 18, 3:00 pm

White Hall 102

Online teaching and learning is rapidly assuming new forms, formats, and approaches. Two experts will discuss their current engagement with MOOCs "Massively Open Online Courses"), DOCCs (Distributed Open Collaborative Courses), and their success in blending these and other means and methods.


Adeline Koh is director of the Digital Humanities Center and and assistant professor of literature at Richard Stockton College. Her work spans the intersections between postcolonial studies and the digital humanities, 19th/20th Century British and Anglophone Literature and Southeast Asian and African studies, and games in higher education. Koh runs the postcolonial digital humanities website and tumblr blog with Roopika Risam. She is also a core contributor to the Profhacker Column at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Elizabeth Losh is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes (MIT Press, 2009) and the forthcoming The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University (MIT Press, 2014). She is the co-author of the textbook Understanding Rhetoric (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013). She is Director of the Culture, Art, and Technology program at Sixth College at U.C. San Diego and writes about distance learning, institutions as digital content-creators, the discourses of the "virtual state," the media literacy of policy makers and authority figures, and the rhetoric surrounding regulatory attempts to limit everyday digital practices.

Abstract for Elizabeth Losh presentation:

The War on Learning

Instructional technologies are frequently imagined as being new, cheap, light, compact, invisible, and laborsaving. Many envisioning digital “reform” in higher education hope to overturn existing practices and values and to ascend to a realm of pure content delivery unfettered by the petty demands of the material and embodied world.  Yet technologies function thanks to platforms that rely on physical constraints and affordances, and they operate in the context of users’ aspirations, desires, and fears regarding regimes of labor and property.  

So what if the access and transparency promised by networked computational media inevitably generates confusion and conflict?  How should we approach the prevalence of the assumption that digital media deeply divide students and teachers and that a once covert war between “us” and “them” has turned into an open battle between “our” technologies and “their” technologies?  On one side, faculty control course management systems, online quizzes, wireless clickers, Internet access to PowerPoint slides and podcasts, and plagiarism detection software. The student side is armed with smart phones, laptops, music players, digital cameras, and social network sites.

This talk provides context and a feminist theoretical framing to better understand massive open online courses (or MOOCs) serving thousands of remote students, educational virtual worlds, gamification schemes to motivate participants, iPad distributions, and many other pedagogical fads and gadgets.  It also affirms the value of interrogating failure stories.  From “angry professor” or “stoned professor” remixes to cheating videos on YouTube, it argues that there is much to learn even from the most seemingly subversive forms of online education.