Tag: Go ask Alice

ambition, distraction and disruption

John Tenniel`s original (1865) illustration for Lewis Carroll`s “Alice in Wonderland”. Alice sitting between Gryphon and Mock turtle

Today, braving hurricane winds and winter storms, the FutureLearn Academic Network gathered in Edinburgh to discuss the extent to which MOOCs are (still) disruptive and suggest new directions for the future.  A number of very interesting sessions were spoken.

Unfortunately for me I was distracted early on by mention of ‘The MOOC Turtle.

My concern stemmed partly from the fact that the Mock Turtle is a difficult, unhappy creature, being neither entirely one animal nor another; and partly from the fact that the speaker illustrated the phrase with a picture of a tortoise. What MOOCs have tort us is an altogether different research question.

If one were using the Mock Turtle as the basis for a discussion about online courses the pickings would be rich*. As you know, the Mock Turtle was a lifelong learner, schooled in Reeling and Writhing, and the different branches of Arithmetic– Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision, and Mystery- ancient and modern, Laughing and Grief, Seaography, Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.  Any of which could easily be new FutureLearn courses.

And if one were looking for new delivery models, what better than ten hours the first day, nine the next, and so on?

`That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: `because they lessen from day to day.’

Learning analytics have nothing on this.


*Have i mentioned that I think the liberal arts are a good grounding for understanding technology?