I’ve been wanting to run an open, online course for a while and have finally managed to put something together in collaboration with Physiopedia. I’m interested in exploring new conceptions of curriculum and what it means to teachers and learners when we do something different. How would learning change if the learners decided on the content they cover? If they had control over the direction and pacing of the course?
The idea is that students not only need to learn about principles of ethical practice, but also to develop what are being called 21st century skills. Things like being able “to find, evaluate, analyse and apply information” (Bates, 2012). These are skills that can be taught, or perhaps more accurately, facilitated. And the only way to do this is to actually use them and to see them being used by others.
In addition, how are we teaching them to manage with the overwhelming amount of information that’s available to them. There’s too much content and so they need to learn how to navigate through this by “connecting with themselves, by connecting with other people” (Downes, 2012). What would happen if we look at the course as a starting point for stimulating students’ thinking, rather than a place to memorise as much content as possible?
I’m going to be running the course over the next couple of months with my 3rd and 4th year students, and will research the outcomes when it’s finished. One of the things that I’m really excited about is the idea that my students will be interacting with qualified health professionals from around the world. We don’t have very many people from outside the university who have registered, but enough to make me think that when this pilot project is done, we’ll be able to try and run it on an even bigger scale next year.
I’d be interested to hear what you think about the course, so let me know in the comments.