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A manifesto for teaching online

A seminar to be given by Dr Hamish Macleod (Edinburgh University)

The MSc Programme in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh has been in existence now for almost ten years, and over that time has tried to push at the limits of online pedagogy, and to construct as virtuous those things which are often considered to be deficits. In short, we see no reason to cast technologically mediated learning as being any sort of “poor relation” of the campus-based, face-to-face, programme, but rather that it serves to focus our attention on those things that are truly important about learning environments, such as relationship and dialogue, by whatever means these are brought about. We have tried to capture some of these ideas in a “manifesto for teaching online”. The emphasis on teaching as a primary activity we have seen as being a necessary counterbalance to recent emphases on student learning, which have left teachers unclear about their roles and identities, beyond their nebulous function as “facilitators”. The recent involvement of the University with MOOCs (massive open online courses) partnered with Coursera has given us further opportunities to think about the role of the teacher. It may be that the MOOCs should not be understood as being a matter of scale per se, but rather to be about the different ways in which the teacher must orchestrate the experience of the “massive”.