zondag 28 september 2014

Problem-based learning

In 1992 I graduated in Economics and Business Administration at Maastricht University. My Alma Mater is renowned for practicing problem-based learning. Education was organized in small tutor led task oriented groups (less than 10 students)  meeting twice a week for two hours.

Studying in Maastricht required a lot of discipline for the required amount of self study. The meetings twice a week provided opportunity for intensive debate with peers of the material. I really enjoyed the organized meetings at the time. 

There are no such meetings in the Stanford Online course OpenKnowledge Changing the Global Course of Learning MOOC so far. Nonetheless, the study material encourages participants to connect, communicate and collaborate through mltiple channels, for example:


To comment on videos, core readings, and reflect on modules

To share resources, in the 'seek, sense and share' activity

To develop digital identity by connecting, communicating

At Stanford the concept of problem-based learning isn't new. In the year 2001 an article was published by Stanford about problem-based learning prominently citing Wim Gijselaars, who was an education researcher at my Alma Mater. [1]

As students in this MOOC we are encouraged to seek, sense and share resources on the internet, and post about it on Diigo. After rereading an article about seek, sense and share I discovered that would be more about connecting, communicating and collaborating with other people, than finding web-pages or articles.

The course is open to everyone. Enrollment is diverse in multiple dimensions. The gender mix is fine. The global mix is fine - with people from at least five different continents. Communication in the course is predominantly in English. The only other language I've seen so far is Castellano. Level of experiences range widely from undergraduate students and others who are novices in the domain of Open Knowledge to seasoned veterans with long careers in education and other fields.

What I haven't learned in Maastricht I will learn in this course. With predefined and structured groups the network of contacts were given. Now the network is wide open. In the past two weeks I have been spending time and energy to filter the amount of network contacts provided in this course. Those are the greatest resources in this course. I'm excited about connecting, communicating and collaborating in this course. In the coming meet we'll meet John Willinsky, an activist for Open Access and researcher of the history of intellectual properties in learning.

[1] Center for Teaching and Learning, 'Problem-based learning', STANFORD UNIVERSITY NEWSLETTER ON TEACHING, WINTER 2001 Vol.11, No. 1, http://web.stanford.edu/dept/CTL/cgi-bin/docs/newsletter/problem_based_learning.pdf

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