A pedagogy of small

Tanya Elias, Laura Ritchie, Geoffrey Gevalt, and Kate Bowles (2020) (link) have written about the pedagogy of small. Stephen Downes shared the link to their University of Calgary paper in his daily newsletter (link).

Tanya and her colleagues revisit open education theories from the 1970s “in order to understand the ecologies that shape open learning in the present”. These ecologies explore “three value pairs that constitute axes of negotiation in the open classroom”:  

  • Autonomy and interdependence
  • Freedom and responsibility
  • Democracy and participation.

My experience of CCK08 (link) led me to think about how these three value pairs connected as self organising networks (link). I see these networks as the energy and agency that drive open online courses … small or massive.

Tanya and her colleagues addressed the issue of small in their thinking. They observed “small offers a choice to those who have, either consciously or unconsciously, already experienced moments where “the recipes [they have] inherited for the solution of typical problems no longer seems to work”. I sense that these recipes now exist in different ecologies and that have much to do with how we engage with open source communities that “offer a counter-cultural model for learners to interact technologically, economically and socially” (link).

I was particularly interested in their discussion as I have had the particular difficulty of dealing with the term ‘massive’ in the MOOC label. Massive to me always seemed an enormous number to me that challenged us to think about our pedagogy of engagement in open educational resources. It is for this reason that I labelled my own work in this area as SOOC (link) … a small open online course. And one that had the characteristics of a Souq (link).

Photo Credits

Riffing (link)

Souq, Aleppo


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