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Read the draft of the course constitution on the class wiki. Please write a 500-word essay about the five most important things you think should be included in the class constitution. Why do you think these five things should be included?
1. Free Culture
The word Open appears 7 times in the draft of the course constitution and the world Free 3 times. Yet this is not a Free Culture document. Saddled with a regressive Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike license, its use is restricted in too many ways. Before an author could print it in their textbook they’d have to come to our MOOC and negotiate with 10’s of thousands of us? They couldn’t use it under an MIT License, or the GPL, or Copyright.
Why clamp down on the ways and places this work can be used? Let’s make this a Free Culture document that anyone can use anywhere. No restrictions. No, “see us first and maybe we’ll approve it.”
The license on the Class Constitution should be Creative Commons Attribution.
2. A Document on the Open Web
The course constitution cannot be read without being a logged in member of Coursera. A manifesto of this nature should be readable by anyone without a prerequisite of membership or status. There should be a copy on the open web and not silo’d under even the benevolent walls of Coursera. How can we possibly create an open educational pedagogy when our very manifesto exists under the access control of a permissions-based proprietary corporation?
3. The Document is too long!
It’s not a manifesto, it’s a ramble. It’s repetitive. Redundant. Boring. We need to have the nerve to not spell out every possible way people can be inconsiderate or not forward thinking. The document should quickly set the stage and then get out of the way. People of good faith don’t need admonishments to play nice. Difficult people will be difficult with or without them. Our draft course constitution is about 1700 words. I’d like it to be not more than 500 words of inspiring vision.
4. MOOCs are a conundrum
MOOCs are new. But they are old. They return the sage to the video stage. They include new students. But they privilege top-down authority. Their massiveness promotes access to content, but inaccessibility to the new high priests of that knowledge.
In a world where:
- Google can find any article
- Wikipedia can explain any concept
- YouTube can teach any skill
Do we really need MOOCs to be video textbook lectures? It’s up to us to find ways to make engagement, activity, and experience possible in this giant class format.
5. Abolish Education as we know it.
The possibilities for knowledge and diversity of ideas at a university dwarf, by orders of magnitude, the learning and experiences possible in a game like World of Warcraft. Yet gamers typically can’t get enough. Meanwhile, students at our universities are bored and unengaged. We must radically alter the terms of this contract, reducing or eliminating institutional hoops and empowering our students to create individualized curricula that is relevant and engaging to them.