From the first closed systems to the open edcmooc

I have to continue the travel in my own mind even if it doesn’t touch other participants’ ponderings in #edsmooc. This time I take a big jump from 1200s to a research session, which was held last week. A big gap remains between these two and I can only guess at some factors influencing to this gap.

I traveled in Central Spain for the first time in my life in September and I visited the old university of Salamanca. It is one of the oldest in the whole world, only Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge have older universities. The name is still in the wall:

universitasIt was great to see the old building with its church or chapel, the spirit seemed to live there still.

One of the old lecture halls was in its original shape. It was too dark to take a photo there but you can imagine the black benches and a stand in front of the classroom. Only one professor had the right to speak and his assistant repeated his words. The students were not allowed to turn their backs toward the professor and they had to listen, of course. Poor people warmed up the benches before the students came in – there were many hierarchies. The teaching was organised so that each branch of science was taught only in its own hall. This was informed clearly at the door. Here is one of those guides:

saliOf course I knew this all earlier, but I have to tell that the visit touched me and my view and ideas changed by the visit. Knowledge was owned by a few people and shared without changes to selected people. It was dangerous to think, to obey was the only way to live.

Now we have universities and even open courses open to everyone. It is a long journey that the human mind and organisations have done during eight hundred years. Now one of the old universities, the Edinburgh University offers us an open course and we meet in Google Hangouts f2f with our facilitators. Technology is one of the factors which make this possible, but what are the changes in our minds? Do we believe in hierarchies between people still and what are the grounds of these hierarchies? How to participate, share expertise and learn from each other? Many pedagogical questions in air but here we are now: this map is from the beginning of our edcmooc course:

edcmoocmap2I had an intention to write about a webinar of ALT / JISC  7.11. but now I understand that I have to write another post of it. Otherwise this post will be too long. My idea is that in that webinar, where Sian Bayne and Jeremy Knox presented their findings, I really lived in the future. The recording Multimodal Profusion in MOOC  is available. It is not mentioned in the edcmooc course but it was open and worth of listening to. The findings are based on the digital artefacts of the first edcmooc in Jan-March this year.

This blog post aims to raise the question: how do we use our freedom to learn in the internet? Do we have old useless restrictions in our minds which we could throw away (not minds but restrictions 🙂 )

It is a nice coincidence that Esko Lius from Finland, a participant of edcmooc, blogged about old Spain Cervantes: Don Quixote. You may read his post here.