Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Podcast interview with me on Leaders and Legends of Online Learning

| 2 Comments

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I’ve been giving a lot of podcast interviews lately 😉 So just a couple days ago I shared the one with Terry Greene on Gettin’ Air.

Today I am sharing one I did with Mark Nichols for Leaders and Legends of Online Learning. Here is the link to the podcast page. I talk about vconnecting of course and generally my values about online learning.

It’s such an honor to be the 9th person interviewed for this podcast, after people like Tony Bates, Martin Weller, Laura Czerniewicz and Tannis Morgan, who are arguably legends!

The way Mark chooses folks is by recommendation of other folks, so I am lucky Laura recommended me (thanks Laura).

This interview is quite edited down, so I asked Mark to share the full version with me also, and I put it on DropBox in case I find that useful someday. I’ll share it, too, once I upload it somewhere 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Dear Maha, I found your interview really thought provoking. I have actually listened to the interview a few times because I would remember something and go back to listen again. Virtually connecting is also just such a good idea!

    One of the key messages that have stuck with me is the idea of a techno-positivist view of online learning. This has now cause me to reflect on my own biases and approach, while previously involved in technology projects. These include putting tablets computers in Caribbean schools and also organising training workshops to encourage teachers to use and also create open educational resources.

    Recently, I decided to return to studies as I wanted to conduct research. I have been refining my research questions under an overarching topic, that seeks to investigate the affordances of MOOCs for the professional development of school teachers in the Caribbean.

    I have read a few papers including:

    The potential of MOOCs for learning at scale in the Global South
    https://www.researchcghe.org/perch/resources/publications/wp31.pdf

    The educational problem that MOOCs could solve: professional development for teachers of disadvantaged students
    https://journal.alt.ac.uk/index.php/rlt/article/view/1738/pdf_30

    But, after reading your paper, ‘Envisioning post-colonial MOOCs: Critiques and ways forward’, I am now considering all the issues that were raised! I can draw some similarities. The Caribbean is also post-colonial, the Caribbean faces technology (bandwidth, devices) challenges, digital literacy challenges. However, teachers are uniquely positioned to support each other, they are mature and more likely to be able to engage in self directed/autonomous learning.

    I think whether, by focusing on MOOCs, does this presuppose that there isn’t a better solution for professional development teachers? Could there non-MOOC solutions?

    I still have so many things to consider, before define the research questions, but it would be great to hear your views on MOOCs for teacher professional development (in a post-colonial context), possible suggestions for further reading around the area or a critique of my attempt (possibly too narrow in scope) to seek to investigate this area.

    Many thanks,
    Jason

    • Hi Jason. Great to hear from you, and thanks for your detailed comment. I think there are instances in the global South (look up the book on ROER4D Adoption of OER in global South edited by Cheryl Hogkinson-Williams and Patricia Arinto) where many of the limitations of MOOCs can be overcome via parity of participation- i.e. where teachers from a country participate in creating the MOOC or OER that fits their context in their language with technology accessible to them. I think other authors whose work is worth looking into are Taskeen Adam (I know she had a paper under review in journal LMT but if it’s not out yet I can introduce you). Also, check out a couple of blogposts by me commenting on recent articles on social justice and OER – particularly by Sarah Lambert and more importantly, by Cheryl Hogkinson-Williams and Henry Trotter. Those may provide useful frameworks.

      Honestly, open has a lot of potential. It has helped me personally very much. I mean Virtually Connecting is a great example. But every open project’s benefits are contextual and rarely universal. Virtually Connecting is of no use to someone with low bandwidth or who cannot speak English or who is deaf for example. And that’s ok as long as we recognize its limitations and acknowledge for whom and in what context it performs a social justice function not otherwise happening.

      In my country, they’ve considered doing teacher PD online. It can be designed really poorly and didactically. But it can also be designed to help build learning communities. What matters more than the PD design in this case, imho, is to tackle structural challenges that teachers face that prevent them from teaching the best way they can..and deep-seated cultural issues that may prevent trust and sharing.

      Of course, if ever one offers tech as a solution, one must ensure equitable access and digital literacy to those who will benefit.

      I hope this helps! Happy to keep discussing wherever and whenever!

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