American Gothic and Higher Education

Discussing Education

Dr. Z
I am grading and watching American Horror: Freak Show.  The character in charge–Jessica Lange’s character–strikes me as an interesting upper management figure.

Entrepreneurial.  Industry leader–the phrases that tweak community college interest.  She is revitalizing a dying industry.

Zimm is texting me about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Classes).  They were the rage–however, some are beginning to question efficacy.  The problem is that many of the online deliveries mimic traditional classrooms. 

I really think Clay Shirky is on to something.  Ong and Havelock write about the shift in thinking created by the advent of writing (Plato is not possible in an oral society); Ong foresaw emerging electronic technologies (1980s) producing another shift.

Again–this is why the notion of think tank driven by an interest, a shared geek element–strikes me as interesting.  People come together to share discussions–and in doing so make connections.

Zimm
I have watched the digital world for over 20 years.   I was even part of “Value America”, who was trying to do everything that Amazon is doing today.   Part of Value America’s problem was that it did not have the appropriate infrastructure and/or management approach to deliver Amazon’s model.   I believe that education is going through the same shift.   The initial innovations may not necessarily work; however, that does not mean that they are the wrong idea.   Failure lends itself toward success more so than success, as one learns from mistakes; however, within a successful environment, one might not always understand what is working.

Dr. Z
Higher Ed is working its way to Demand Generating.  Faculty are being warned against the notion of “the sage on the stage,” dictating to students what they should want, why they are there.  However, the entire infrastructure is built on that model–even the massive open online classrooms.  Standardized Testing, Student Learning Outcomes, Momentum Points–all of it reinforces a structure built on compartmentalization and turf.  The administrators warning against that model use PowerPoint lectures to push faculty away from PowerPoint lectures.

You and I have debated the millennial issue.  They are able to exploit the technology for entertainment–but they baulk at incorporating it in a meaningful, revolutionary, transformative way in education (and business–thinking of your experiences trying to explain your marketing strategies to sales departments composed of younger).

Back to American Gothic, Jessica Lange is trying to build her freak show in a society that no longer wants needs it.  Not so ironically–she is legless.

Zimm
I still stand by that digital is going to change everything, as people try different approaches.  It was only a few years ago that people adopted smart phones.  Now smart TV- even as traditional cable is starting to die.

Robert W
I’ve done a few MOOC classes. I think the ones on Udacity were my favorites which incidentally isn’t attached to a college.

Some of the others were really good too. Powerpoint is more of an art than a science and presenters and lecturers tend to abuse the privilege. I remember UF professors loved their power points.

I did one on Behavioral Economics by Dan Ariely of Duke University.

My suspicion is that MOOCs work best with self-motivated students, and maybe even better for autodidacts, who have a specific purpose for taking the classes.

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