Today sees the start of my E-Learning and Digital Cultures Mooc and I’m really looking forward to the adventure. The topic for Block One is an exploration of ‘Utopias and Dystopias’ – more of that later – but this morning I have been watching some introductory video clips about the course and about the nature of Moocs themselves, which is one of my main motivations for enrolling on the course, to explore what the future of ‘formal’ education looks like, and whether it has a future at all! The concept of the ‘flipped classroom’ is one which I have discussed before on the blog (see Flipping Socrates), so my curiosity was aroused again by this Ted talk from Anant Agarwal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the growth of online courses.
A few key questions remain unanswered for me in relation to blended learning, and I would like to explore these issues further in the next few weeks. They could be summarised as follows:
Most of the references i have seen to the flipped classroom appear to relate to aspects of mathematics and science. Do the principles apply equally to the arts and humanities?
Agarwal talks about ‘instant feedback’ and computer-generated assessments. Is that possible, or even desirable, in relation to non-mathematical subjects?
This kind of ‘blend’ – combination of online and face-to face interaction – seems to work well for post-compulsory education, but can it work equally well for 12-16 year-olds, or even younger?
Will e-learning ultimately sound the death knell of compulsory schooling?