While registering for an upcoming Coursera course in E-Learning and Digital Cultures (What? Why? I’ll let you know later.), wandered over to the University of Edinburgh to get a sense of the faculty who were teaching it, and bumped sideways into their Manifesto for teaching online. I always like to read a good manifesto, and this one sparked my course-planning tinder. A few good theses for writing:
Text is being toppled as the only mode that matters in academic writing.
Visual and hypertextual representations allow arguments to emerge, rather than be stated.
New forms of writing make assessors work harder: they remind us that assessment is an act of interpretation.
It’s good to hear proclaimed what I already know and readily assent to, but this last assertion is an absolute challenge.
The possibility of the ‘online version’ is overstated. The best online courses are born digital.
“The best online courses are born digital.” That a) fires a warning volley over Coursera’s bow and b) gives a nod to the value of cMOOCs – points of discussion that are bound to be taken up in the upcoming course.
But it also serves as a rallying cry and starting point for re-birthing E-Rhetoric – something I’ve been wanting to do for the last couple of years. It’s grown long in the tooth, lost touch somehow, and needs a re-w0rking. The manifesto helps get that re-thinking started.