… and fine sunrises too, like the one I enjoyed early this morning, walking to the commuter train steps from my house (Mr UD usually drives me to the metro, but he’s out of town).

I’ve been so busy from morn ’til night these three days that it’s been hard for me to blog… I watched last night’s sunset from an incredibly well-appointed meeting room on the top floor of a fancy building at George Washington University, where I sat listening to sales pitches from online vendors who’d like to run programs at GW. Yes, GW is exploring all sorts of online initiatives, and UD has been asked to be part of this exploration because of her modest MOOC acclaim.

Yet if you read this blog with any care, you know that despite her online poetry lectures, UD is way skeptical of online education. So she is an oddball, a misfit, a brother from a seriously other mother, on this particular committee… Though she thinks she may be of some use to it, since her elaborate resistance to what these vendors represent is perhaps representative of a certain slice of the professorati, and GW might as well know what to expect by way of trouble as it tries to get some of this stuff up and running.

Still, UD is reflective enough (though just barely) to wonder, as she squints paranoiacally at this techie parade, whether she herself is sort of like totally well like over. Hopelessly twentieth century. Apparently everyone’s supposed to want to learn things by sitting by yourself and playing Sesame Street-like games and watching coached professors on a screen. Or on a phone or whatever. Everyone’s supposed to be dying to have a university-level discussion that’s organized like the opening of the Brady Bunch except that instead of the Brady Bunch it’s your fellow discussants. Students want this. Students demand this. Said the techie parade.

And actually there’s a lot to like if you’re a certain kind of professor. UD gathers that some online teaching will appeal to the self-important among us – displaced German university professors who enjoy being fussed over by a team of people whose job it is to sense what they will like and do that thing for them… Who will, let’s be honest, actually write and even sorta teach the course for them if they would like… Who’d run interference in such a way that they’d never have to get all down and dirty with, well, students… Bothersome things like that…

And, you know, it’s like that Monty Python thing… I s’pose I’m very old-fashioned… very old-fashioned… (Did I make that up? I can’t find the source of it.) But I just can’t wrap my head around it.

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3 Responses to “There’s been a series of fine sunsets over the last three days…”

  1. Steven H. Cullinane Says:

    Swiftly fly the years.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Oy. Especially in big ol’ pomo USA.

  3. Nellie in NZ Says:

    Online teaching is open to fraud on a scale that destroys all sense of an academy. I’m in a position where that is the only teaching I can do (due to my now remote location). I’ve had some modest success with some of my students, that is, if the person taking the class is the one that is actually registered. I can tell if a writing style is inconsistent during the semester, but I have no way of ascertaining if the writer is actually the student (if a consistent writer is always impersonating the student).

    I was a bit naive about this until a colleague, who is an educational psychologist, said that she was given advice that if one of her clients couldn’t get accommodation for a disability, he should just enroll in an online course and have someone take the course for him. This advice came from an employee in the university.

    I sort of teach online, but it isn’t the sort of teaching that I could do in the classroom for all those years. I miss it.

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