Potcert week 3

At one time I was told that overdoing student centeredness in a course could leave the learners in a kind innocent ignorance and negate the purpose of their being in the presence with greater knowledge than them. An abandonment of instructional responsibility and almost a collapse of the accumulated cultural experience of the human race. Well, that’s a bit much. I do suspect though that there’s a feeling of upside-downness  in looking to students for guidance in how best to instruct them and would like to explore for myself some aspects of this to turn into a form of orientation for instructors.

To begin with I have a table of contrasting terms found in a book referenced by Jenny Mackness that I’ve lost the path back to:

Instruction Student-Centered Learning Environments
transmission, acquisition interpretation, construction
mastery performance meaning making
external reality internal reality
dualism, absolutism cultural relativism, perspectival
abstract, symbolic contextualized, authentic, experiential
individually interpreted socially negotiated, co-constructed
mind-centered community-based, culturally mediated
directed intentional
reductionistic complex, self-organizing
individual collaborative
idealist, rational pragmatist
encoding, retention, retrieval articulation and reflection
internal, mental social
receptive, reproductive constructive
symbolic reasoning situated learning
psychology anthropology, sociology, ethnography
laboratory in situ
theoretical everyday
central processing architecture distributed architecture
objective, modelable experiential, interpretive
symbol processor symbol builder
disembodied experiential
conceptual, memorial perceptual
atomistic, decomposable gestalt
independent emergent
possessed distributed
objective, stable, fixed subjective, contextualized, fluid
well-structured ill-structured
decontextualized embedded in experience
compliant self-regulated

Accessed Sept 17, 2013
Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments
Edited by
David H. Jonassen
Susan M. Land
Pennsylvania State University
Mahwah, New Jersey London

Not sure how to structure this into a learning object though think it would be useful as a reminder that students are already participating at a more complex level than many of us think.

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  • Carolyn Jones  On September 20, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    i think this is a really useful structure Scott. Thank you. It encapsulates for me the future of rhizomatic learning (a new term I learned recently 🙂 – in that any given course forms some nodes – but then the roots may go in any direction). I think the student centred model makes for an extremely exciting future for education although, arguably – the future is here! Clearly this new structure may well pose a significant threat to traditional institutions – but I don’t think this would be any bad thing.
    It was interesting that on the BBC news in the UK 2 days ago we find that many UK universities are becoming more accepting of MOOC formats – but significantly, not Oxford (!). Here is the link:


    • scottx5  On September 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Hi Carrie, my worry with MOOCs produced by existing universities is they seem to be doing it attract students rather than offer anything innovative that would serve the student. Our college just started throwing courses online about 7 years ago and it’s taken a that long to get part way towards something more “educational” than just reading from a textbook in front of a camera. No objection to a wider distribution of educational opportunities and adding a social dimension builds towards a constructivist environment where students can at least participate in the course through each other.

      Interesting to know what reasons Oxford gives. Beyond the financial strain of hosting free classes I think they see education as a reciprocal exchange of commitments to learn together that for now resides in personal contact.

      I’m a bit conflicted on this. One side sees the wider distribution of intelligent content as a huge boost to the establishment of a learning society where all have access. The other side a deep suspicion of marketing and a lack of commitment to students who are always pictured as individuals but always written of in the thousands. And I’m not a trusting person:-) We are in the midst of a large change in education where I am directions are being given from the top. It isn’t a democratic process and it isn’t informed in any by notions of the public good. If it was true change the distribution of positions would shift to accommodate new possibilities in education but when you see 20 to 50 staff and instructors dumped for every administrator kept, promoted or hired you can see the direction is away from serving students and towards the survival of the institution–even if no longer serves anyone.

      My bet is change happening outside the institutions or at least on the fringe. Good time to take advantage of free content but I wonder how really different this is?

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