Dan wasn’t able to be at the first day of class, but here’s his welcome and overview:

Cathy’s welcome and course introduction on the first day of class:

The course begins with readings and a conversation about making knowledge in public, what it means to translate from the classroom to the larger world, the meaning of public knowledge and public culture, and the MOOC movement in higher education.  It introduces John Seely Brown’s idea of the “entrepreneurial learner,” not the learner who wants to be an entrepreneur but one who takes charge of his or her own learning, is creatively engaged in thinking across disciplinary and cultural boundaries, and isn’t just a thinker but a maker.


Here is some recommended background reading on pedagogy. It is not required, but will be referenced throughout the course and is intended to help you create your online web material.  Feel free to add any other useful articles, books, or videos on creative learning and imaginative, interactive teaching:

107 responses to “Introduction

  1. Great first class! Thanks, everyone, for being so daring and bold and ready to jump right in.

    We talked in class about the relationship of pedagogy and attention blindness and I made the point that distraction is a kind of pedagogy, in the sense that when our habits our disrupted, we have a choice either to be annoyed or to learn from the disruption. I like to say that “distraction is our friend” in the sense that the very habits that make life efficient, also make certain things invisible (this is why the majority of accidents happen within five miles of home: we are so used to the route, we aren’t really paying attention until the fender bender reminds us that attending, even to the familiar, is important: when we read Junot Diaz we’ll see those words are as important emotionally as cognitively). I also want to mention that film editing, like story telling, is about attention blindness. In story telling, writers learn what to reveal and when in order to obtain the maximum surprise. In editing, there are rules as well as intuitions that help editors knowing when and what to cut, and what to leave to the imagination, and where it is better to be explicit and when real terror or passion or eroticism or joy comes from the unsaid. (NB: Everything in this class is pedagogical, content and form are merged.)

    I have two resources to recommend. One is a truly beautiful, smart book about the psychology and even metaphysics of film editing by one of the great editors, Walter Murch (he edited The Godfather, “Cold Mountain, The English Patient, Apocalypse Now and many other major movies). His book In the Blink of an Eye, compares film editing to “conducting, brain surgery and short-order cooking.” Here’s the Amazon description, from the flap copy I assume: “Starting with what might be the most basic editing question — Why do cuts work? — Murch treats the reader to a wonderful ride through the aesthetics and practical concerns of cutting film. Along the way, he offers his unique insights on such subjects as continuity and discontinuity in editing, dreaming, and reality; criteria for a good cut; the blink of the eye as an emotional cue; digital editing; and much more.”

    And if you are interested in thinking more about what you can and cannot teach on line, right now there is a MOOC MOOC in progress that is a free course about online courses. You can find that here: Have a great weekend!

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