An Affinity for Asynchronous Learning

This article, posted on Hybrid Pedagogy (one of my favorite sites) was written by two instructors who met on E-Learning and Digital Cultures, a MOOC which I visited a few times.  Of note here is not the MOOC.  Although it is becoming more common to dislike MOOCs, I think the mistake with MOOCs were the expectations built around them. I did not think they would educate the world for free.  Rather, the MOOC is/was an artifact around which discourse could and does occur.  A certain type of person takes a MOOC.  A lifelong learner, a person who is interested (we’ve all seen the University of Pennsylvania statistics by now.)  The relationships made during the MOOC are of great value, and they have an afterlife that is more meaningful than the course itself.  This article is an example.


I also agree with the authors about asynchronous learning.  Aside from the issues they discuss there are still access problems, platform conflicts, and more – especially if not entirely controlled by one organization. “There are two misconceptions that we think hinder teachers’ creativity when thinking about teaching online. The first is a tendency to think of ways of approximating their face-to-face teaching into an online format as much as possible — instead of considering the possibilities afforded by the new medium, with the diverse opportunities for engagement and communication. The (problematic) assumptions behind this include a belief that text is less personal, that immediacy is inherently more valuable, and that approximating face-to-face is beneficial. The second, which relates to the first, is the belief (as Kolowich suggests) that increasing the “human” element of an online course is best done by either showing the face/voice of the teacher (e.g., as in pre-recorded lectures used in many xMOOCs), approximating a non-interactive lecture-based face-to-face class, or interacting synchronously (as in Google Hangouts), approximating a discussion-based face-to-face class.”

via An Affinity for Asynchronous Learning – Hybrid Pedagogy.