Education: Run-n-Ramble 2013-01-12

Uploaded by rickosborneorg on 13.01.2013

Good evening, Webizens. Today is Saturday, January 12th, 2013.
I've been thinking about
education and online education lately
and there are couple really good resources for this, a couple of really
good videos. CGPGrey did a really good one called Digital Aristotle
where he basically sort of talks about
what Neal Stephenson predicted
way back when he wrote "Diamond Age", what, fifteen years ago or whatever.
Just basically talking about customizing education for everybody
based on digital devices
and, what did they call it, the "School of One" project up in New York, or something like that?
And the counter to that
is a really good video
that bigthink did
that had Henry Rollins in it.
And Henry Rollins talked about
how the price of education right now is just
the price is too damned high.
And it's more
sensical at this point to go out and
skip college
until you've got your life set up and can come back and afford it
at more reasonable rates.
And I think both of those are very very true.
i skipped college i dropped out i when i went to college for a year before i
dropped out and and and go back for eleven years after that
while i'm not going to say that that made my life
so much easier in some respects in my life a lot harder
but i don't regret it
would it have been easier if i had gone to college straight out of school
Probably, from an employment perspective, yes.
but then I might have been one of those people that was just burdened with debt
and miserable
from the day-to-day experience i probably would have been
less happy
even though my career would be in a very different place than it is right now.
So I don't know what the right answer is.
I've been thinking a lot about online education
what we do at my university, and just so that i've said it
my views are my own and they do not represent the university i work for,
if you happen to know which one that is.
But anyway, so contrasting what we do at my university with what
say, Coursera
and some of the other big
massive uh... open online courses are doing right now
and I look at Coursera and it's gotten seventy five thousand people enrolled in
a statistics class
and the expectation
is that you're not
interacting with instructors
the expectation is that if you need help your interacting with other students
and it's very different then the expectation
at the, for the online courses at the university that i'm at
because that expectation is that there will never be more than twenty five
students in class online
that each
each teacher can teach no more than two classes so at any given time
you have
no more than fifty
students per teacher
and the expectation is that that teacher is then
not just guiding you through your education but helping you through your education almost
uh... in my head i liken it to almost more of a customer support role
than a teaching role because when you say "teaching" it seems like this very
traditional, stand up in front of the classroom and go sort of thing
and we're not doing that sort of education and the education that we're
doing is very asynchronous, we prepare all of the
course material beforehand
uh... the students get through it their own pace and then the teachers like
I said they're more like customer support
than they are doing any sort of lecturing or anything like that
and so you you just you have this continuum where you've got a classroom
environment all the way on one end
and to be honest even further even further pass the classroom environment
you've got homeschooling but at least class requirements that sort of very
typical left-hand side of the spectrum and the very atypical right-hand side of
the spectrum is MOOCs
like Coursera
for all intents and purposes the teacher is just grading
and to be clear i'm not saying that the teacher doesn't do anything
the instructional design that goes into a MOOC
and i don't know. I have found that i actually prefer
the Coursera model
i prefer the model where the student
has the expectation that they will be teaching themselves
because i don't know, i'm kind of coming around his idea that the sort of
teacher as customer service rep
and teacher as tech support
it feels to me like a crutch
in that
i there are some students that take something away from that there are some
students that just who really need that that human interaction to be able to
so i'm not saying that it's not a viable teaching model
uh... i just i guess i'm saying doesn't really appeal to me. When i was taking
my degree online I almost never
sought out a teacher and when i did it was not for help it was for clarification
you know i'm
i me and not everybody
learns like I do so there are going to be people who learn like that
well it's just not my style
being the database guy that i am
uh... what immediately strikes me is that it just doesn't seem scalable
that that teacher as customer service rep
do we do we want to plan for one teacher for every fifty students
it's great for job creation
but does that make sense sustainably
or if we take that digital Aristotle concept where the education is very
customized every single student obviously you can't really mix those two
so at that point the the MOOC model makes a lot more sense
I dont know, I don't think that there's one right answer
education is at an interesting time right now
because we have so many more options then we had
even twenty years ago
within twenty years ago everybody was in the classroom and and uh...
well one of my first went through college
uh... i wasn't at the physics one thousand level class
with six hundred other students
and i was in an english composition class with i wanna say 1200 other
students and that's
that's not how i want to learn. I don't want to have to sit in a classroom with 1200 other students that just
doesn't make any sort of sense to me because you don't have the interaction already
why do you need to be in a classroom?
so i'm really kinda surprised that uh... brick and mortar universities are
hanging on his own as long as they are
and you know
my university as a
brick and mortar component to it so obviously we're not doing too bad
and obviously
speaking as a teacher i can tell you that there are students that absolutely
that that human interaction not just
some sort of instant messaging application but uh...
literally stand right next to somebody and point of the screen
it seems like a crutch to meet but
you know maybe that's just i can't get into that headspace, maybe that's
i mean obviously that's a perfectly valid way to learn
uh... i i will say one more thing it seems to me
like ... one of the things that we focus on in
teaching students how to be
web entrepreneurs
is to find your niche
really exploit that
and make sure it's a profitable one
and uh... i used to work for a company that made websites for elective surgeons
like LASIK
eye doctors and plastic surgeons and that sort of stuff
and that was a really good niche because you have really high end sort of
boutique quality websites
made for people with the money to pay for them
and i think
one of the emerging
pockets that we're starting to see even education is as we go towards this
Coursera model with MOOCs
or the sort of Udemy model
you're paying five ten bucks for access to a two or three hour course
the CodeSchool model
where they've got a bunch of these little 4-8 hour courses and you pay for
per month basis
the model where it's very, very similar but less interactive
so all of these models are taking very technical concepts from subject
matter experts
figuring out how to put them online
if there's one thing that i've learned it's that
people who are subject matter experts and people who are very very technical
don't necessarily know anything about teaching or more to the point anything about
instructional design so there's a really good niche for somebody
to come in and speak both languages somebody who can speak the technical
language but the subject matter experts teaching speaking
but can figure out how to
rearrange and recombine and refactor all of that knowledge into something that
a student can absorb
because you can't just
brain dump
some technical matter
and assume that a student can understand it, you've got
concerns about
leveling and you've got concerns about teaching A before teaching B so that
you're not jumping ahead here so
and there's just there's a lot that goes into instructional design
so i think a really interesting niche
in the near future is going to be this sort of uh...
freelance instructional design
where you come in and somebody says "hey, I'm a subject matter expert in XYZ and
i'd like to put a course together for Udemy
or Lynda or whatever
i want to pay you
videotape me and do motion graphics and
sequence it so that it makes sense"
and so that everybody wins. The students get a better student experience,
the subject matter expert
gets the money that they're gonna make and
and the instructional designer gets paid to put it all together
yeah i think it's gonna be a really interesting model handful and and to be
quite honest, if i can get in on the action in 2013 I will, that would
make me happy i will not be unhappy about that