This morning on our way to campus I was telling Kelly about my plans to begin recording lectures for the latest of my courses that I am converting into the distance learning format. I’ve had a bit of conversion towards the distance learning wave in the past two years since the idea was first offered to me. Actually, it was less an offering than a mandate, of sorts: we need your philosophy of education course to be part of the new online only master’s in higher education. In fact, we also need your course on multiculturalism too. And, if you have any other courses you’d like to offer as distance learning course, well, why not bring those online too! Oh, and there’s some compensation. Not a lot, but enough to make it worth the time and energy you’ll be expending. And so I was drafted, and then, after I got into the studio and started recording the lectures, I became a convert to distance learning, or what my esteemed colleague Nick Burbules calls ‘ubiquitous learning.’ (I’m wondering if I’m just an example of the so-called Stockholm Syndrome? But, I dare say, I’m not being held captive by this mandate. Truth be told, one of my colleagues who was recruited to be part of the distance learning program jumped ship at the 11th hour. Coincidentally, he’s now in a dire situation with regard to making his load, which, for any non-academics reading this blog, means that he doesn’t have enough courses to fulfill his contractual obligation at the university. Translation: he shot himself in the foot when he turned up his nose to online teaching. Maybe he’ll change his mind and listen to that old aphorism: necessity is the mother of invention!)
My experiment/project is happening in my ethics course The thesis is the following: if, in our courses, we make a study of the principles underlying TEAC, we will increasingly 'own' the language that is being 'dictated' to us and our students. In the case of TEAC, I'll be using it, first, as the basis of my Ethics class, where we will study the language of TEAC Quality Principles, specifically, the principle of 'care'. In turn, I have a working paper/pamphlet that I've proposed to write for a three day summer institute at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. That piece will be a theoretical study that I intend to write in the wake of teaching this spring. In turn, the fleshing out of my piece will be based on the work I undertake with my students, and, as a result, will be an authentic and organic reflection work happening in the course. My plan is to circulate my piece next year to the faculty as a 'working paper,' with the hope that it will initiate a conversation about the TEAC principles, which, today, remain a set of abstract and empty concepts that are ostensibly guiding our work in teacher ed.