The year after the year after the year of the MOOC.” That was how, in a group discussion of the state of distance learning, my colleague Brad Mehlenbacher nominated anno 2014, deftly mocking the inflated declarations of the editorialists of ed-tech disruption and some administrators who appointed 2012 “The Year of the MOOC”1 and reset the calendars of higher education to a new epoch (Mehlenbacher; Pappano). Suffice to say that now in the year after the year after the year after that year, the hype has died down about the masses of universities flocking to massive online education.2 Teachers, commentators, and students have all learned much about the operation and the problems of this model in the meantime, and though MOOCs continue to cast long shadows, other forms of distance, blended, and connected education continue to evolve. Nonetheless, I begin with the worst academic acronym of all time to mark one endpoint of the new scale on which we engage with students and they engage with each other or with broader publics.
The other end of that scale might be marked with another edu-buzzphrase: “sequestered learning.” This is apparently what the classroom used to be called, as if protectively cloistering its students from the sins of the world and now also the Web. Rebranding as “sequestered learning” surely responds to how teachers now frequently open their classrooms to contact with the digital world beyond. Of course, instructors can still have a face-to-face (F2F) classroom thoroughly connected to the open web; they can also sequester a digital environment within a so-called walled garden like a learning management system (LMS) or simply by asking students to close their laptops. The rationale for such sequestration varies from technophobia to privacy issues to concerns about media distractions (Shirky). For the new seminarians, attention is prayer.
From massive online encounters to renewed emphasis on the intimate concentration of the classroom, the scale of teaching with or without technologies has never been wider. And instructors’ own positions on that scale cannot be taken for granted. They never have been, but MOOC-mania has provoked a broad reconsideration of the critical possibilities, political implications, and pedagogical affordances of teaching at different scales or within variously connected networks. Conspicuous claims about the massive have offered contrast for the rationales of small, medium, hybrid, and lateral models of teaching. Michael Witmore has made this point about textual analysis, in which the “massive addressability” of a digital corpus also reminds us of the creative possibilities of criticism for addressing all written, printed, and material texts at different scales. In a similar sense, the classroom has become a massively addressable object, whether digital or not. As Kathi Inman Berens suggests, the digital untethering of collaborative learning from the classroom makes the term itself a “heuristic” for understanding our changing interfaces with students. This chapter will suggest that the subfield of digital pedagogy has started to reengineer those interfaces at various scales.
Whether subfield or shared field or something more, digital pedagogy engages with teaching and learning practices along this entire spectrum. It is a fallacy, even a grievous error, to associate digital pedagogy solely with MOOCs or distance education. Because even on the other end of the scale, digital pedagogy can crucially affect sequestered learning environments—including those that shut laptops or dispense with computers entirely (Fyfe, “Digital Pedagogy Unplugged”). At the same time, digital pedagogy cannot responsibly distance itself from education by massive means. Following the debates surrounding the supposed complicity of “The Dark Side” of digital humanities with objectionable trends in academia (the focus of a much-discussed 2013 MLA panel of the same name and in chapter 38 in this volume), Raphael Alvarado suggested that DH not overly protest its innocence in a mistaken affiliation with MOOCs, at least. Alvarado claims that DH shares a fundamental challenge to the accepted scales of academic inquiry as well as its synthesis of digital technology with humanities instruction. At the same time, there are deep differences: “we need to articulate the specific cultural premises and institutional conditions that underlie and frame our principled opposition to MOOCs.” As Alvarado recommends, “We need to unpack this collective aversion and make it part of our discourse.” This chapter suggests that such conversations have been advanced by experiments in digital pedagogy elsewhere on the spectrum of instruction. They do not capitulate to the massive or condone the sublimated politics of educational disruption. Instead, they explore the middle grounds of teaching at different scales and develop practices that integrate the unique affordances of learning environments from small to large, sequestered to open. In so doing, they usher mid-sized digital pedagogy toward the same scrutiny and research interests in which blended learning has been situated (Picciano and Dziuban; Dziuban, Graham, and Picciano).
This chapter surveys experiments on this middle ground to point out some opportunities and outcomes of new models of mid-sized digital pedagogy. Its examples are not prescriptive but suggest how differently configured models for the classroom can effectively and creatively integrate with academic discourse, whether in digital humanities or other domains. The emphasis here on scale and spectrum rather than definitions of mid-sized digital pedagogy acknowledges the range of creative trials and critical practices in this space.3 The mid-scale likewise opens educational “innovation” to what instructors and students are themselves attempting to develop. As Jim Groom and Brian Lamb suggest, “the more interesting challenge for an open learning architecture is how to scale agile and distinct environments across and among many courses—or even better, across several institutions and across the web itself.” These hybrid configurations—made possible by the Web and a renewed curiosity about scale—represent for Groom and Lamb the most exciting alternatives to top-down enterprise solutions for educational technology. Such experiments have variously been called connected classrooms, cross-campus learning environments, or even small private online courses (SPOCs).4 In whatever forms, they virtually combine classes at separate universities or connect them to other learning communities, blending on-site meetings with online conversations and collaborative work. They all take advantage of the possibilities of extending classrooms while also strategically limiting their own scope, involving multiple rosters of students without becoming massive. There are a range of interesting models here, each offering insight about what mid-sized digital pedagogy does well and what it does not. The studies to follow track why the instructors tried it, how it worked, and how they judged its successes.
So why would someone try connecting courses across institutions? First of all, because the topic might demand it. Especially in the case of teaching Walt Whitman. Unscrew the locks from the classroom doors! Unscrew the classroom doors themselves from their jambs! Among the early instances of such experiments, the “Looking for Whitman” project found motivation in its very subject. Orchestrated by Matthew K. Gold, Karen Karbiener, Jim Groom, and others in the fall semester of 2009, instructors connected their various courses at their very different universities. Whitman testified “I am large, I contain multitudes,” and this teaching experiment was multitudinous rather than massive. Each course studied unique facets of Whitman based on their own locations: New York, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Fredericksburg, and Washington, D.C. As Gold summarizes, “The project asked students to research Whitman’s connections to their individual locations and share that research with one another in a dynamic, social, web-based learning environment” (153). Courses met face-to-face while using web aggregators on blogs and social media to share insights, responses, and foster a project-wide community. The “Looking for Whitman” project site still hosts several of the modules that all participants collectively generated for an even broader audience. Each course had its own learning goals and differently skilled students with different curricular backgrounds, but, as the instructors report, the course “bridged institutional divides” and ennobled the distributed contributions of its varied participants (Gold, 165). As the author of Leaves of Grass would have appreciated, the courses collected into a community without losing their distinctiveness in the mass.
The “Looking for Whitman” project also importantly clarifies some of the categories of engagement for its participating students, including: what is personal: the individual engagement with course materials and instructor; what is local: the exigencies and experiences of students within a single course; what is common: shared materials and streams among all participants; and what is collective: the aggregate work or effects of the whole. An experiment like this succeeds when it rationalizes the needful contributions of these domains to student learning and creates an infrastructure for students to contribute to each. In so doing, it provides the “meta-cognition” about using differently configured environments which Cathy Davidson among others has called teachers and learners to urgently realize (“Why Are We Still Learning Alone?”). Such thoughtful scaffolding supports “Looking for Whitman” as a “new model for networked pedagogy,” just as do the encouraging results that Gold and others report from student work and participant surveys (163).
According to one student participant in “Looking for Whitman,” the strongest rationale for connected experiences in the courses was the sharing of different expertise. That goal has driven similar experiences with synchronous or shared teaching in the sciences. Tom Gleeson reports that he co-taught a graduate class in advanced groundwater hydrology in courses compassing McGill University, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Wisconsin. This small private online course (SPOC) was as determinedly private as “Looking for Whitman” was open, but it likewise flourished because of real-time sharing among the participants in a blended learning environment. This sharing included real-time video interaction among the courses, local assignments, and tag-team presentations from groups of students distributed between the schools.5 As Gleeson states, the experiment’s major success was exposing students to topics, tools, and skills that they otherwise would not have encountered in their individual classes. Connecting courses online becomes an inter-institutional form of team teaching that allows instructors to leverage their different specializations.
This sort of sharing now happens frequently in the form of “guest lectures” made possible by free videoconferencing software. Between the one-off virtual visit and an entirely co-taught course are other, mid-sized modes of collaborative encounters among classes. In fall 2014, Richard Menke and I undertook such an experiment, focused on a substantial module in the middle of our semesters and shared between my course on “Reading Literature in the Digital Age” (first-year honors students at North Carolina State University) and his course on “History and Theory of the Novel” (upper-level English majors at the University of Georgia). Our subject was Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield; our goal was to invite participating students into social reading environments, shared discussions, and ultimately projects that highlighted the accumulating domain knowledge from each class. Though we encountered significant logistical challenges in coordinating distinct curricular offerings taught at different times, the module offered students windows into very different sets of critical discussions about a shared text, as well as a chance to exercise their developing expertise from their home course for an audience of peers. Like several other examples mentioned here, the module aimed to invite students into a shared research program—shared not only with each other, but through our own research into the very effectiveness of such course collaborations, also with their instructors.
Connecting modules or courses also allows instructors to ennoble and build upon student work. For instance, at the University of Victoria, Alison Chapman wondered why, every semester, instructors wipe the slate clean of student work on subjects that will be taught again and again. Why not ask students to benefit from the work of their predecessors and build on it further? While still a work in progress, Chapman’s “Victorian Poetry, Poetics, and Contexts” wiki endeavors to do just this, offering a lateral model of contiguous collaboration among different classes, not only at the University of Victoria, but anywhere a Victorian poetry course might be interested to engage. So far it has included the University of Exeter, Whittier College, the University of Toledo, and Hobart and William Smith, from summer 2012 and continuing to the present. In contrast to familiar assignments to edit content on Wikipedia, focused resources like the Victorian poetry wiki offer more control over the contents, site plans, and feedback for students to develop collaboratively an open educational resource (OER). In other words, scaling the wiki to the level of a course may make it easier for other courses to plug into. Likewise, students participate on the level of their distributed peers, all of whom are responsible for content and conduct within the local parameters of their instruction.6
The Sonic Dictionary Project of the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University is another instance of building a community resource while supporting innovative pedagogy. Organized by Mary Caton Lingold, Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden, and Darren Mueller, the Sonic Dictionary invites courses to help generate a “Wikipedia of sound,” including historical and thematic collections based on course topics and student projects, such as Lingold’s “Sounds of the South” class (Lingold, Geoffroy-Schwinden, and Mueller). Begun in fall 2013 with two courses connected to the humanities-based Audiovisualities Lab at Duke, Sonic Dictionary has now involved ten distinct courses including one from Oberlin College. On the site, Lingold, Geoffroy-Schwinden, and Mueller offer step-by-step guidelines about using Sonic Dictionary (Omeka-based) as well as suggestions about how instructors can scaffold participation into different courses. By participating in Sonic Dictionary, students can learn from and contribute sound objects, as well as learn processes of digitization and taxonomy. Because Sonic Dictionary is a public, collaborative project, Lingold suggests students become especially keen about the outward-facing results of their work, raising the expectations for each other’s contributions.7 Sonic Dictionary takes shape between individual class projects and wide-open crowd sourcing; as such, it continues to raise questions about the status of such mid-sized entities: is this an archive, thematic resource collection, database, time-limited project slated for graceful degradation? Furthermore, with its own limited staffing (currently served by one research assistant, library-based technical support, and graduate students as project directors), the project spotlights important issues of scalability and sustainability for pursuing this kind of course-based collaboration.
Many of these examples also suggest the potentials for connected courses to promote student engagement in two related contexts: during class and beyond the semester. George Hess, a professor of Forestry at North Carolina State University, has published work on his experiment with collaborative graduate education across multiple campuses, in which three different courses each focused on a guiding question: “Where is conservation science in local planning?” J. R. Thompson, Hess, and their colleagues wanted an inquiry-based learning experience keyed to critical problems in natural resources and civic planning. That not only produced lively student engagement with timely problems, it trained students in the very collaborative contexts in which such problems are tackled professionally. As the authors explain, “Multi-institutional approaches to graduate education continue to emerge as a way to better prepare students for collaborative work” (Thompson et al., 16). Such coordinated efforts—again at a scale that expands the student participants but limits the cohort to a focused community—thus anticipate the distributed, professionally focused environments for research that characterize our disciplines and postgraduate work.
Student engagement drove a literary studies collaboration in fall 2011 when Brian Croxall organized a group of instructors including Mark Sample, Zach Whalen, Erin Templeton, and Paul Benzon, all from different institutions, to share a collaborative module on Mark Danielewski’s postmodern novel House of Leaves (Croxall, “Sharing and Re-Networking House of Leaves”). When it was published, fans of House of Leaves flocked to an online forum to try and collectively grapple with the novel’s enigmas and staggering difficulty. It was, as Mark Sample points out, a “networked novel” from the start and therefore begs to be studied as part of a network of readers (Sample, “Renetworking House of Leaves”). Very much like “Looking for Whitman,” the subject matter invites students to join a network of collaborative interpretation to grapple with a “project that was bigger than any class could do by itself,” as Croxall explained in a Skype interview. Most of that initial project attempted to recreate the crowdsourced exploration of the novel through an online forum in which students from all the classes participated (“This Is Not for Us”). In encouraging students within and between courses to work collaboratively on a very new book, Croxall aimed for students to experience the energies of sharing that Mark Sample pinpoints at the heart of the digital humanities (Sample, “The Digital Humanities Is Not about Building, It’s about Sharing”). For Croxall, as for all of the participating teachers, sharing is a tool for introducing students to the broader interpretive communities they are always part of. In other words, they are not alone reading this crazy novel because a crazy professor assigned it, or even following a designated curricular path as designated majors within the walled gardens of higher ed. Instead, Croxall and others wanted students to feel like a part of mutually responsible and creative communities, offering them a sense of their “transformative agency,” which lasts far beyond the semester in question.
Platforms for students to discover and expand their sense of educational agency do not have to be course-based. The “Domain of One’s Own” project started at the University of Mary Washington (and subsequently inspiring similar initiatives across the country) aims primarily to help students early on realize and take control of their online identities. These student-controlled domains readily lend themselves to coursework, learning communities, and academic portfolios. Though not strictly “mid-sized,” they do laterally reconfigure the combinatory experiences of multiple courses that may choose to connect with the evolving online presence of their students. The Blogs@Baruch project exemplifies how students’ distributed work can also be aggregated at a different scale. Its largest project involves a thousand incoming first-years participating in various seminars, all of whom respond to three shared writing prompts along the way and then see their work syndicated on a shared “motherblog.” According to Groom and Lamb, this process not only “encourages and empowers first-year students to take ownership of their online presence,” as facilitated by student domain projects, but also “fosters community across the incoming class,” much in the spirit of first-year reading experience programs.
This kind of engagement can have specific political valences, too. In a 2014 essay “The Other End of the Scale,” William Thomas and Elizabeth Lorang of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln urge digital pedagogy to focus on more specific communities, particularly those underserved or flatly overlooked by the promoters of “massive” education or enterprise learning solutions. They offer instead the example of “History Harvest,” “an open, digital archive of historical artifacts gathered from communities across the United States.” Specific courses and teams of students at UNL work with community partners interested to digitize, archive, and share their historical materials—from documents and objects to stories and oral histories. For students, this offers a practicum in the workflows and platforms of digital history as well as crucial sensitivity to the political consequences of this work at different scales. As Thomas and Lorang suggest, “the present foregrounding of abundance and connectivity has emphasized volume and scale. The danger in this view of abundance, whether of rich data or of ubiquitous access, is a false sense of completeness and equality.” Importantly, History Harvest is not crowdsourced so much as course-sourced and place-based, exposing the politics of digital production and representation and inviting students into the “community archives” movement that seeks to redress the exclusions of digitization on massive scales. History Harvest also seeks to be a platform for similar harvests around the nation; Thomas describes the possibility of a “federated approach to this form of experiential learning” (Georgini).8 Though scale remains a concern with this model, such a federated approach insists on the local contours within any collective. Ultimately, History Harvest aims, by connecting history courses to each other as well as to local communities, to effectively generate “a more inclusive story of our nation’s past” (Georgini).
Connectedness to place or greater purpose can be powerful ways to counterbalance the unbearable lightness of being connected. In digital pedagogy circles and beyond, teachers have taken advantage of the opportunity for openly sharing course materials, moving from walled gardens to course blogs on the open web, and inviting students to practice their learning in the open. Among the justifications for doing so is students’ sometimes strikingly direct contact with the world online, particularly through social media. To pick only a few examples: In Amanda Licastro’s first-year writing course at NYU called “Thinking and Writing through New Media,” students got responses from prominent figures including Margaret Atwood on Twitter.9 Students in Miriam Posner’s DH101 class at UCLA, having reviewed assigned readings on the course blog, frequently find themselves in conversations with the authors in the comments. Perhaps the author of Remediation retweets your tweet about the remediated version of his book Remediation, which you are using in class.10 At the same time, these interactions are not always the rule. The open web can yawn with roaring silence. The hoped-for spontaneous interactions and serendipitous connections dissipate amid the constant thrum of spam, inanity, and trolls. As Croxall said in our Skype interview, “We like to talk about blogging like our students are communicating with the world. That was kind of true in 2004.” Now it does not always happen unless students or teachers amplify those signals to their worlds. In fact, Miriam Posner prearranges with selected authors to check in on her students’ blogging. This hardly detracts from their experience of direct interaction. Instead, it points to the need for instructors to reorient themselves on scales of sustainable interactions, finding firmer pedagogical footing amid the vertigo of the open web.
Much of this means developing structures for and orchestrating interactions with a larger community, but one that instructors work to define. Particularly in their early manifestations, many MOOCs rhetorically presumed self-forming groups and spontaneous collaboration among their users. This dream of stochastic organization can also seem, from a skeptic’s point of view, like disavowing responsibility to structure learning environments (i.e., “disrupting” education). But serendipity can happen at scale. Matthew K. Gold reports that there were some surprising student projects. “Looking for Whitman” including unasked-for learning resources that students created for each other. Mid-sized or linked courses should design a learning environment that does not presume self-organization but allows for serendipity. As Cathy Davidson has argued, learning together allows the pooling of our unevenly distributed modes of attention: “collaboration by difference is an antidote to attention blindness” and a corrective to industrial-era regimes of instructional design and evaluation (Now You See It, 100). While Davidson suggests that students readily see more opportunities for interconnection than instructors can anticipate, she also underscores instructors’ responsibilities to establish the grounds for this to happen (Now You See It, 66).11 This may be the governing paradox of educational serendipity: it takes a lot of hard work to let things go. Gold allowed the creative possibilities of “Looking for Whitman” to flourish within thoughtfully articulated instructional architecture. Even the very “looseness” of the project design, allowing students room to play, emerged from decisions to adapt a philosophy of the Web—“small pieces loosely joined”—to teaching at scale (163). That requires not simply thoughtfulness but a great deal of support and labor, belying the simplistic economics of scale in the early rhetoric of massive online learning.
Davidson’s recent experimental course, “The History and Future of Higher Education” (or #FutureEd for short), required the efforts of twenty staffers and significant financial investment. In her wrap-up, Davidson suggests how the work of creating and running #FutureEd, as well as the discussions held during the course, reveal the substantial “infrastructure, planning, and human labor [required] to make real change” in higher education (“Changing Higher Education to Change the World”). This meta-MOOC operated on several scales at once, involving three connected face-to-face courses at different universities, taught by Davidson at Duke, David Palumbo-Liu at Stanford, and Christopher Newfield at UC Santa Barbara; another twenty- to twenty-five-person weekly discussion group at Fordham University; dozens of topic-focused groups orchestrated by HASTAC on the Web; and the distributed contributions of 18,000 registered participants worldwide using the Coursera platform as well as #FutureEd’s social media streams. Davidson has since moved to the CUNY Graduate Center to direct The Futures Initiative, which pursues research, teaching, and outreach on similar topics. In spring 2015, Davidson scaled her experiments somewhat differently, co-teaching “Mapping the Futures of Higher Education” with William Kelly as a conventional graduate seminar of twelve to fifteen students. These students are all themselves teachers across nine different CUNY campuses. Each week, they coordinate their own courses distributed through CUNY’s system, enacting in each the weekly experiments that are the subjects of Davidson and Kelly’s overarching class (Davidson and Kelly).12
Ultimately, #FutureEd and “Mapping the Futures of Higher Education” ask their participants to reflect on and evaluate the possibilities of the very learning configurations the courses variously establish.13 In so doing, they underscore the need for “reclaiming innovation” with “a countervailing vision of grassroots, generative innovation dedicated to strengthening higher education,” as Groom and Lamb have described it. Mid-scale digital pedagogies may offer such an opportunity to steer the disruption in higher ed. Among the most critically incisive of these experiments has been organized by the FemTechNet collective. This collaboration of scholars across the country also devised a supporting course, explicitly called a “distributed open collaborative course” or DOCC (Jaschik). The DOCC is a hybrid, connecting face-to-face courses while also remaining open to a broader online community. First run in 2013 by Lisa Nakamura, Liz Losh, Anne Balsamo, and Veronica Paredes, the DOCC is a feminist critique of MOOCs enacted through this “collaborative experiment in transformative pedagogy” (Balsamo, Losh, and Nakamura). For all the claims to disruption, MOOCs as formalized by providers like Coursera and Udacity simply scale up a conventional unit of college instruction, the single course; for their aims of being distributed, MOOCs continue to imply that knowledge gets delivered from an institutional locus with an elite pedigree. By contrast, with its DOCC, FemTechNet seeks to emphasize the participatory conditions of knowledge-making in distributed spheres by a variety of social actors and to provide the framework for instructors to accomplish this using their own courses (Balsamo, Losh, and Nakamura).
First offered in fall 2013, the initial DOCC was “Dialogues on Feminism and Technology” and comprised fifteen different institutional participants spanning community-based, liberal arts, and research institutions (“DOCC 2013”). In this model, each course develops locally as a “node,” structured according to the exigencies and needs of its own institution. Each also integrates “core” content in the form of video dialogues and readings, then opens to discussion across the DOCC during “open office hours” and Town Hall meetings online. The DOCC also offers a set of “interaction ideas” for instructors to engage with other courses and collaboratively generate shared projects. The architecture thus blends local experiences, common content and discussions, and goals for aggregate work, such as DOCC 2013’s “Wikistorming” projects to enhance Wikipedia’s coverage of women and expose biases in its editing processes. With its 2014 theme “Collaborations in Feminism and Technology,” the course explored not simply the learning opportunities but the political valences of socially networked configurations at different scales, within and beyond the classroom. The DOCC “connects networked and physical spaces and academic and everyday life” in order to reclaim the terms of distributed learning. As Balsamo explains, “Distributed versus massive rests on an understanding that knowledge is co-creation.” FemTechNet’s DOCCs do not aim to be massive, but to cultivate a critical mass around its topic and release that topic within the co-creative environment it establishes (Balsamo, Losh, and Nakamura).
Members of FemTechNet are also among the participants of another online learning community called “Connected Courses.” This group emerged from a 2013 initiative “Reclaim Open Learning” funded by the MacArthur Foundation and its Digital Media & Learning Initiative (DML) to restore teachers to a prominent place in the conversation about massive, open, and/or connected learning via the Web (“Reclaim Open Learning”). In fall 2014, “Connected Courses” offered its own meta-MOOC on how to think about, develop, and teach your own connected course (“Connected Courses”). It featured an impressive roster of instructors responsible for facilitating a different discussion each week. In summer 2014, the National Writing Project helped to run a similar connected learning MOOC (#clmooc) on “Making Learning Connected.” While these meta-MOOCs do not themselves involve in-person meetings or linked courses, their teacher-students can and do integrate such opportunities in their own work. Finding an opportunity to link two face-to-face experiences, for instance, Jaimie Hoffman and Mario Perez created a module on diversity shared between courses at CSU Channel Islands and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan, reporting their methods, student outcomes, and recommendations about the process (Hoffman).
Initiatives like “Connected Courses,” #clmooc, or others such as #ds106 are not necessarily massive and grapple with crucial issues about how to redirect educational disruption toward actual learning. But they explore the possibilities of peer-to-peer learning almost entirely without the variable of the in-person classroom and thus might deserve separate discussion about their changing scales of shared online learning or what, as Alvarado says, “our understanding of a good MOOC might be.” It may be tenuous to distinguish connected learning online from connecting class experiences through the Web, but it may also be worth doing—not because face-to-face classroom learning represents a philosophical default in education, but because it has and will continue to structure the lived experiences of teachers and students in the mass. Amid wanton disruption exemplified by claims for “the university of everywhere” (Watters and Goldrick-Rab), there are few more important questions to argue than why we continue to meet our students in person. Mid-sized digital pedagogy does not discard this question as do the proponents of massive disruption. Instead, it underscores through practice and meta-cognition the crucial affordances of doing so, not by excluding student agency on the Web, but by deeply and dialectically involving it in figuring out what we can still do, in person, together.
1. The MOOC acronym stands for massive open online course.
2. Mehlenbacher rounds up helpful coverage of summaries and shortcomings. See also Kolowich; Watters and Goldrick-Rab.
3. In the introduction to a volume of research perspectives on blended learning, Picciano similarly suggests that there is “no single pattern or model for blending these approaches” and “no generally accepted definition of blended learning” (Dziuban, Graham, and Picciano, 1, 4).
4. Yes, SPOCs. In our fallen age, be an acronym or be irrelevant. It is tempting to call this reflex the Requisite Acronym for Learning Formations (RALF).
5. Thanks to Grant Ferguson, one of the faculty participants, for sharing perspectives about the course over e-mail.
6. Related projects may also make use of collaborative class notes for a given semester, which also engage students in a common intellectual project and ennoble the corpus of knowledge a given class builds, particularly for humanities subjects (Jones).
7. My thanks to Mary Caton Lingold for discussing the project and its pedagogical dimensions in a telephone call.
8. Gold similarly describes “Looking for Whitman” as a “confederated learning environment” (163).
9. See the @nyuniversity account’s message “When you tweet at @MargaretAtwood from your freshman writing seminar . . . and she tweets back: http://po.st/AxnalO #nbd #nyufyws” on October 29, 2014. https://twitter.com/nyuniversity/status/527493822729580544.
10. This happened to the message “My tweet about Bolter and Grusin’s e-book version of their book *Remediation* was retweeted by Richard Grusin. #downtherabbithole.” @pfyfe, August 3, 2012. https://twitter.com/pfyfe/status/231441145723514880.
11. See also Davidson’s three principles of “collaboration by difference” (Now You See It, 233).
12. The breakout courses span an impressive range of topics, including introductory courses in music, theater, art, and narrative, as well as Chemistry 201, Databases and Data Mining Research Methods, Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism, and a career bridge program.
13. See also Davidson’s own early reflections in “10 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) from Making a Meta-MOOC.”
Alvarado, Rafael. “Are MOOCs Part of the Digital Humanities?” The Transducer, January 5, 2013. http://transducer.ontoligent.com/?p=992.
Balsamo, Anne, Elizabeth Losh, and Lisa Nakamura. How to Build Inclusive Learning Collectives. DMLResearch Hub, October 27, 2014, video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdXAMSdsSms.
Berens, Kathi Inman. “Interface.” In Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, ed. Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, Katherine D. Harris, and Jentery Sayers. New York: Modern Language Association, 2015. https://digitalpedagogy.commons.mla.org/keywords/interface/.
“#clmooc: Making Learning Connected.” CLMOOC. http://clmooc.educatorinnovator.org/.
“Connected Courses: Active Co-Learning in Higher-Ed.” Connected Courses. http://connectedcourses.net/.
Croxall, Brian. “Sharing and Re-Networking House of Leaves.” Introduction to Digital Humanities, English 389 at Emory University, 2011. http://www.briancroxall.net/dh/assignments/sharing-and-re-networking-house-of-leaves/.
Davidson, Cathy N. “10 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) from Making a Meta-MOOC.” Hybrid Pedagogy, January 16, 2014. http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/10-things-learned-from-making-a-meta-mooc/.
—. “Changing Higher Education to Change the World.” Chronicle of Higher Education: #FutureEd Blog, March 14, 2014. http://chronicle.com/blogs/future/2014/03/14/changing-higher-education-to-change-the-world/.
—. “Why Are We Still Learning Alone? Why Connection Is More Important than Ever #FuturesEd.” HASTAC, February 23, 2015. https://www.hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/2015/02/23/why-are-we-still-learning-alone-why-connection-more-important-ever.
Davidson, Cathy N., and William Kelly. “Courses. Spring 2015: Mapping the Futures of Higher Education.” The Futures Initiative, CUNY Graduate Center. http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Page-Elements/Academics-Research-Centers-Initiatives/Initiatives-and-Committees/The-Futures-Initiative/Courses.
“DOCC 2013: Dialogues on Feminism and Technology.” FemTechNet Commons. http://femtechnet.newschool.edu/docc2013/.
Dziuban, Charles, Charles R. Graham, and Anthony G. Picciano, eds. Blended Learning: Research Perspectives, vol. 2. New York: Routledge, 2013.
Fyfe, Paul. “Digital Pedagogy Unplugged.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 5, no. 3 (2011). http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/5/3/000106/000106.html.
Georgini, Sara. “Spring at the ‘History Harvest.’” The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History, March 6, 2013. http://earlyamericanists.com/2013/03/06/spring-at-the-history-harvest/.
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