Monday, October 11, 2004

From Seblogging: Do we have a content problem?

Thumbing through my blog clippings this morning, came across this post on Sebblogging back in July:

Seblogging: "So, I keep asking myself: what is wrong with you? everybody else seems to be really concerned about quality content and its delivery... what kind of distorted mental world are you living in?"

Sebastian goes on to quote Oleg Liber and his article Cybernetics, e-learning and the education system:

"higher learning is concerned with worldviews, with the acquisition of the concepts and distinctions of a discipline, its discourse; and this is best learnt through practice, though engaging in the discourse. This requires a form of cognitive apprenticeship [25], where a rich conversational engagement between learners and teacher can take place; it cannot be achieved just through the learning of facts."

This made me think of a lesson I learned when I started work at SNHU--I hope I can take parts of this lesson with me to my new job at NSCC. What I discovered when I got to SNHU, where hundreds of course sections are served up online each year, was that there was virtually no course/content development going on--instructors were handed a syllabus and an empty course shell in Blackboard. Importantly, though, instructors are given significant training in using Blackboard's discussion tools and a huge emphasis is placed on how to create that discourse that's so vital.

It does seem to me that most schools have a content problem--they get so wrapped up in how the content is going to be presented that they forget that what really matters is how that content is taught. People I've talked to are scratching their heads about the Open CourseWare project at MIT--why would they want to give away all that content? Well, it's not the content that makes MIT--it's the teaching.

The internet does indeed give us some amazing tools for discourse. Can we shift our emphasis in course development and delivery toward that end of the spectrum?


At 5:59 AM, Blogger Albert Ip said...

It seems that there is a growing concensus that content is not what make learning. I was questioning "When is a Learning Object a Learning Object?" just today. See


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