I’ve been teaching at least some of my classes online since 2005 and I’ve been using various other online tools (what I’ve heard described as “blended” learning, whatever that means) for a lot longer than that. But I’ve never taken an online class before, and I haven’t exactly done a lot of studying of online pedagogy, certainly not from the perspective of education scholars. So when I read about Curtis Bonk’s Massively Open Online Course about teaching online, I figured what the heck? I signed up.
It’s very very early, of course. The class technically doesn’t start until Monday. But there are already a couple of things that give me, well, pause.
First, there’s the introductions part of the class, which is basically 1200 or so different people posting a message that says “hi, my name is…” with not much other interaction. How could there be, really?
Second, Bonk posted this introduction that comes across to me as, well, goofy:
I’ve been known to make a few attention-getting and goofy videos for my online classes too, but there sure seems to be a lot of props here. But hey, who knows? Bonk has a fist full of articles and books on online pedagogy and somebody must think he knows what he’s talking about or he wouldn’t be doing this at all.
Third, I think Bonk signals here a bit as to what Blackboard’s interest in this whole MOOC thing is all about. As Bonk explains in this video (at about the 9 minute mark), week 5 is going to feature the folks from Blackboard coming on the site to more or less explaining all the “cool” Blackboard tools we’ve been using. Now, I don’t know if this is what’s going to happen, but it sounds like the angle here is Blackboard is going to try to sell us on Blackboard, sort of like the way that textbook companies try to sell faculty on their textbooks and other products. Which again makes me think that this whole MOOC thing is mostly a marketing stunt.
Skeptic that I am, we’ll press onward.