An Ethical Online Course

Jesse Stommel has a great article at Hybrid Pedagogy on the ethos of participation in hybrid or online learning environments.

“The best online and hybrid courses are made from scraps strewn about and gathered together from across the web. We build a course by examining the bits, considering how they’re connected, and creating pathways for learners to make their own connections.”

The description echos the image created by Davie Cormier in this helpful MOOC primer video, and the idea of “pathways” is something I’m thinking about with Philosophy this semester. But he presents a twist in cultivating unique pathways within the hybrid classroom, and the notion that:

“Hybrid classes demand an even more complex architecture, requiring consideration of the physical space(s) we’ll work within, the virtual space(s), as well as the various ways we’ll move between the spaces. When we build a hybrid class, we must consider how we’ll create pathways between the learning that happens in a room and the learning that happens on the web.”

He outlines a few examples that start me thinking about how well the Philosophy 12 blog – or the TALONS blogged spaces, for that matter – connects to the learning conducted in our classrooms and within other physical space. And I think that a few of the questions I’m driving at in my Learning Project musings may lead me to consider ways and means to support and enrich these digital spaces.

Well-prefaced advice from Jesse in this regard:

“The single best tip I have on this front is to avoid the ping-pong ball effect, in which the teacher responds to every (or nearly every) comment made by students with immediate correction or affirmation. This very quickly reinforces a hierarchy in which students are constantly looking to the teacher for approval. Ignore any “best practices” or “quality assurance” measures that encourage the teacher’s voice to dominate online discussion. Model thoughtful engagement and responsiveness with several well-placed comments/questions and leave space for the learners to follow suit.”

Neatly aligning with so many different things I’ve been reading these days, he ends here, which if you don’t go check out the piece in full, should situate you in the heart of the matter:

“Most importantly, educators at every level must begin by listening to and trusting students. This means building space in every course for students to reflect upon the course’s pedagogy — an ongoing meta-level discussion of learning with student voices at its center.”