Friday, 3 October 2014

#ccourses Why we need a why

I just loved the discussion between Mike Wesch, Randy Best and Cathy Davidson on ‘The end (purpose) of HE’ – launched by a share of their best teaching experiences.
For Randy it was working with architecture students in a Studio mode. The students came to work not to listen – and the Crits provided authentic contexts and audience for the work in progress – and the students were fearless about revision – prepared to go and cut 90% of work-in-progress and to improve and produce their best work.
For Mike it was the time he and his Anthropology Class moved into a Retirement Community and lived and breathed meaningful ‘anthropology in action’, where: ‘something special happened’.
For Cathy it was returning to a 21st Century Literacies Class to find that the students had torn up the Learning Contracts – because they wanted to do more. That year they produced a de facto textbook on the course – the following year they generated a MOOC…
This sense of engagement – of excitement – of authenticity – of wanting to go further – work harder… definitely seems at the heart of great teaching and learning.
Check out: for great video discussion – and this topic’s questions:
So what is the real “why” of your course? Why should students take it? How will they be changed by it? What is your discipline’s real “why”? Why does it matter that students take __________ courses or become _________ists? How can digital and networked technologies effectively support the real why of your course?
Write down your real why, share it in the make bank, and frame it in a blog post that explains your story and inspiration. These can be in the form of student learning objectives, but do not feel constrained by whether your objectives are measurable, realistic, or reasonable. Explore your own depths to find reasons you did not even realize were there — or reasons you have never been able to put into words. And, if you can’t quite put your reasons into words, share a story or picture that somehow conveys your otherwise inexpressible thoughts.
Why we need a why – my why
Loved learning – hated school! Hated the power and the lack of power – hated the never knowing WHY – felt fearful, trapped and constrained – and thought: this cannot be all there is!

Had wonderful experiences at Tottenham Tech and the Polytechnic of North London – and thought, THAT’S more like it!
This seems to have lured me into becoming an educationalist and a learning developer.
I want to enable spaces for students to learn, laugh, think, speak, discover, have fun, experience joy, get connected, be with each other and be with their subject.
Recently was gifted the opportunity with my partner, Tom, to develop and deliver a 30-week module, Becoming an Educationalist (, and suddenly we had the time and space to create a course with the time and space to explore the potential and joys of learning and teaching… drawing in all the ideas from our experiences, philosophies, politics, lived life – and MOOCs (#edcmooc, #artmooc, #artinquiry, #rhizo14 – and now #ccourses).
We hope that the students will be intrigued, excited, stimulated, engaged… We hope that they will work hard because somehow when you want it and you’re engaged, it’s not ‘work’.
We want to sing and dance and laugh and fly… Wish us ‘bon voyage’!

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