Week 1 – Activity 3: Manifesto

In 2011, the programme team for the MSc in Digital education at the University of Edinburgh, which included students, teachers, and researchers, developed a series of statements that they hoped would capture what they felt was “generative and productive about online teaching, course design, writing, assessment and community”. They have posted this manifesto to a webpage and their intention is to spark discussion about what it means to teach and learn online.

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by Leonard Bentley: http://flickr.com/photos/31363949@N02/11477329176

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by Leonard Bentley: http://flickr.com/photos/31363949@N02/11477329176

Visit the site here “manifesto for teaching online” and explore the various tabs. The team welcomes remixing, reusing and critique, and have posted a variety of these on their website – the “manifesto on the move” tab outlines various responses to the manifesto – see if any resonate.

At the beginning of this course journey think about the principles and statements outlined. Which ones do you identify with the most? Are there some that you aren’t sure about? Write a post, add a comment to this page, or create a response in another way.

7 Responses to Week 1 – Activity 3: Manifesto

  1. Tashmyra says:

    I liked the open and questioning nature of many of the statements. I was particularly impressed with the questions around the function of assessment and also the supremacy of the written word. The concept of ‘online’ being an original format unto itself and also the subject of originality, plagiarism and being watched made me think about the online learning format and some of its ramifications beyond the obvious thoughts of the online format just being a efficient mode of learning; an alternative to classroom brick and mortar universities. There is a whole other world of concepts, questions and possibilities.

  2. BC Sparvier says:

    I watched the video first then re-read the text of the manifesto. Some were intriguing some not so much. The one that stood out the most was “Feedback can be digested, worked with, created from. In the absence of this, it is just ‘response’.”

    The reason being, when I started the these EDDL courses, I had to adjust from instant feedback of a regular class. I like to talk and converse with people. The idea of having to wait for a response was very annoying. But I have figured it with myself now.

    I like the idea of the “manifesto for online teaching”. It has come along way but also has along way to go also.

  3. Michelle Harrison says:

    Hi Fabian,

    Thanks for the great response. You speak to an important aspect of the online/asynchronous experience – and I often wonder how we can better prepare learners for the different patterns in communication and timing that they will encounter online. What have you taken away that you would use in your own teaching in an online environment? Any ideas for a manifesto statement?


  4. BC Sparvier says:

    The main thing that I am learning about response time is figuring how to use the technology in that aspect. Facebook for example, has given us a tool to respond immediately but lacks the dialogue to converse intimately. Not comparing course and content in these classes and facebook post. But we live in era that facebook has given us a tool to be reactive and responsive in the digital word. It was not long ago that email was great to communicate with everyone and not have to wait. Now we email has become snail mail in this era of facebook.

    But I think there are some classes that will be easier to be more engaged and responsive but other not so much.

    I am in the learning stage right now and very soon will be in the planning stage for my job to take our courses/programs online. I know there will be a learning curves for everyone but the ideas that we generate here in class have contributed greatly to have these my course development more engaging.

  5. Michelle Harrison says:

    Hi Fabian,

    You make a great point about the kinds of tools available to us as educators and the affordances that each brings. As you say Facebook allows for a more responsive dialogue, but it means that it is out in the open. There are ways you could create privacy in Facebook (ie through a private group for your class or even smaller groups), but there are other issues to consider – who owns the content you contribute in Facebook, BCs FOIPPA rules (student information cannot be stored on US servers), how does the activity in FB integrate with the other spaces in your course. It sounds like you will be having to make these kinds of decisions for your program, so considering the types of communication and activities you want in your courses will be a great starting place to deciding what tools you can use to get you there.

    You also point out that different groups will have different levels of engagement – and again something that as an online teacher you will have to consider in your design. Depending on the course content and your own philosophy, how much social engagement you expect will vary. How do you design for this? How can you balance this throughout the course (independent activity with social engagement, time for reflection) is another thing to think about. As an online teacher what are the ways that you can help create engagement – with ideas or other learners? All really good questions – hopefully we will explore a few more of them as we work through the course.

  6. skoch says:

    Hi all,
    I am sorry I have not been involved these past couple of weeks. I set up my f-f classes and assignment schedule for my 2 theory courses poorly. I have 300 assignments to mark in about 5 weeks…..never again!
    In reading the comments from my classmates, I noted several insightful things.
    1. Students engage at different levels-my courses are university level but many of my students seem still to be in high school. There are cliques and disassociation from others except when they are working with friends. There is giggling in the classroom and lack of attention to what I or others are discussing. It is annoying.
    2. I think this decreases with on-line teaching and learning because they are working, essentially, on their own and must do their own research and work.
    3. The students have set up their own Facebook pages for the courses to interact with each other during the courses. They have taken this upon themselves and feel more comfortable with this peer-to-peer involvement rather than in class.
    4. I like the Manifesto because of the themes it brings out. My favourite is, “‘Best practice’ is a totalizing term blind to context – there are many ways to get it right.” In our program we emphasize best practice in terms of healthcare actions but it can certainly mean different things to different people. I think part of that is related to the culture in which we grow up.

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