You know what I’ve been thinking? More of you should read Jonathan Rees at More or Less Bunk. Here’s why: the man shows a commitment to explaining why if the future of higher ed is online, then the future of the republic is a dim one. (See for example his riff on selling As based on Michael Moore’s question, “Why doesn’t GM sell crack?”) While some of us just rip something out of the mailbag, or rant about politics, or put up a YouTube of a song we heard in yoga this week, Jonathan has signed up for a MOOC and is posting regularly on the results.
Here’s his reportage so far on Princeton Proffie Jeremy Adelman’s World History course:
- Part one, in which our common Jonathan is “underwhelmed” by the technology used in the MOOC, and concludes that “[i]f this kind of course makes anyone unemployed, it’s not because they’ve built a better mousetrap.”
- Part the second, in which Jonathan confesses that “I am absolutely bombing the multiple choice questions after each lecture segment. After two lectures, I think I’ve gotten only one of them right on the first try in about eight or nine chances.” He believes that this is because Professor Adelman offers no guidance in his lectures as to which are the more important concepts or terms–no outline, no key words on the screen or whiteboard, no nuthin’. Now friends, although I confessed to you recently that I am something of a creampuff when it comes to peer reviews of my colleagues’ teaching, this is the kind of rookie teaching unforced error that I would comment on in a letter. (Or on a blog, in the case of a public lecture.)
- Part the third, in which Jonathan’s sympathetic imagination leads him to wonder if Professor Adelman isn’t just as lonely for human contact in his MOOC as his numberless, faceless students–or at least a volleyball with a face painted on it?
Eh, everyone’s a critic. I don’t know about Jonathan, but soon the rest of the world will have the opportunity to judge my teaching, as well as my haircut, voice, weight, wardrobe, and overall appearance, as C-SPAN has contacted me about recording one of my lectures from HIST 358: American Women’s History to 1800 this semester for their Lectures in History series, and it looks like we’ve got a nice room for the recording. (Baa Ram U. surely didn’t want to use the actual classroom in which I teach, which is a sterile, windowless icebox built of cement blocks and featuring brutal fluorescent lighting. But at least it’s air-conditioned, right?) And get this: I’m lecturing about historical undergarments–doesn’t that sound like fun?
I was talking to Fratguy the other day, saying how I wish I had thought up RadioLab and that I wanted to be Jad Abumrad. After all, I said, “I have a face for radio.” He said, “No, you don’t have a face for radio–you have a face for CSPAN-2!” Oh, snap! (Can you tell we’ve been married for 15 years?)