Reflections on the current course: Critical Educational Practice

Snap, crackle, pop! This is the course I was looking forward to — not surprisingly, it is taught by the department chairperson, Professor Pate. There are several things to praise:

  • her selection of readings–mostly online (what? no ridiculously-priced texts?), mostly up-to-date, and only significant ones, not a stinker in the lot (yet). She has us looking 
  • her e-sheets, one page summaries of pertinent topics (like one on search engines, another on learning objects, another on wiki construction, etc.)
  • her emphasis on tools. It is educational technology, after all. And among other cool tools, she’s introduced everyone to delicious social bookmarks and google apps
  • the fostered interactivity via the discussion boards, something made more possible because of the lessening of the reading and response load; her questions are no more provocative, but the required reading one has to do in order to formulate sensible responses is significantly less; she is also encouraging us to Skype and social bookmark with each other, which is appropriate and (to me) very exciting prospect

And among the problems with the course:

  • as mentioned before on this blog (here, here, and here, for instance) the version of the learning management system (LMS) Blackboard is way too slow–slower than commercial sites, slower than government sites, slower than subscription news sites, slower even than much cheaper LMS like schoolloop. It’s ridiculous that a program that’s fast and responsive like moodle seems to be has not been selected for this particular course in efficient internet-based learning. I found myself tonight nodding vigorously to Lou Reed’s “first thing you learn is, you always have to wait.” Always waiting on my course content.

On the whole, this course has been restorative to my faith in the program. I had hoped that there would be such an engaging exploration of learning tools, and now we have it. Hurrah!
photo courtesy of the Kellogg Company, Inc 

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