Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed

Workshop of Potential Criticism

September 20, 2013 by Claudia Caro Sullivan

Richard L. Edwards, Ball State University

Workshops of Potential Criticism: A New Vision for Open Learning

If we are to reclaim open learning from the limitations of xMOOC designs, we need to embrace online models that engage the playful and connected nature of learning. We do not need to scale up the already scaled (e.g. a ‘sage on the stage’ in a large lecture hall) but those models of learning that most resist scaling up: the seminar and the workshop. Unlike the lecture hall, the seminar and workshop encourage peer-to-peer dialogue and participation in knowledge building. Drawing upon constructivism (Vygotsky), experiential education (Dewey), and collective indwelling (Polyani, Thomas, and Brown) we will share the design and outcomes of our multi-year open scholarship projects that collectively operate as ‘Workshops of Potential Criticism.”

This concept owes much to the Oulipo, a group of French writers and mathematicians who came together, in a loose workshop fashion, to identify, discover, and utilize constraints and algorithms in creative endeavors as a way to explore potential. Similarly, online “Workshops of Potential Criticism” can use algorithmic and constrained methodologies to bring together large numbers of learners by identifying their relevant interests and passions. Seminars succeed to the extent that learners become part of a growing and dialogic network of critical thinkers and producers. Workshops value mentorship and mess around with ideas. But to scale up the online seminar and workshop, we need to build, refine, and assess new tools for open learning on a massive scale such as OTTO. We believe our ongoing projects can inspire others to consider creating their own ‘Workshops of Potential Criticism’ to achieve their connected learning goals.

These links showcase our various innovations (2005-present) that come together as our “Workshop of Potential Criticism.” We have made these projects and tools openly available to online learners. Each of these projects come together in an open learning ecology dedicated to the study of film noir and crime fiction.
This is our main website that brings together our various open scholarship and open access learning projects, including our three podcast series. Our freely available scholarly podcasts are also housed in open educational portals such as iTunes U and MERLOT.

Worldcat Listing:
The Projects are catalogued and searchable through and assigned Library of Congress subject categories. This allows these open educational resources to be located by students, researchers, and the general public.

The Open Canister Transcript Archive:
Housed at Indiana University libraries as part of their Open Access Initiative, this site makes transcripts of the Out of the Past Podcast Series publicly available. A key feature of this transcript archive is that each word in the published transcript is also a Quicktime link that dynamically connects to the relevant audio podcast, thus making this a very useful tool for scanning and citing the podcast as an OER resource.

Using as an Open Teaching Tool:
An example of how Prof. Edwards built a lecture in his Film Noir MOOC from tweets. This is an example of how an asynchronous seminar-style discussion can be supported. It also demonstrates how new and unexpected insights into a subject can be built around the questions and observations of the learners.

Blog piece on OTTO:
Published at MediaCommons (a digital scholarly network), this post contains links to OTTO and describes the features and benefits of OTTO (Open Text Tool for Online video) for online learning. This custom learning tool was built by iLearn Research, a unit headed by Edwards.

Blog about
Shannon Clute’s thoughts on our podcasting projects. He discusses our contributions to online learning about film noir and mystery writing.

Tags: ,

Posted in Gallery |

Comments are closed.