I know we just spent around two and a half hours talking about teaching, and I realize there’s more to digital history than the internet, but one topic I’d really like to discuss is online learning. I hadn’t given the subject any thought, not even while writing up questions for the discussion.
However, the discussion about history being a book-based profession, about whether writing and history are inseparable, and the relative merits of the five-page paper all seemed to hint at another question–what are the possibilities for writing as a tool of analysis in the give and take world of social media, blogs, and online resources?
That’s a big topic, but to bring it back to teaching I wonder if we shouldn’t consider how the rise of online teaching and even online universities should challenge us to think about the ways in which teaching online is, or isn’t, different in practice from traditional classroom teaching. So many classes are being moved to platforms like Blackboard without, it seems to me, much global thinking about how the new virtual classroom might require a whole new pedagogy.
Whether or not this conversation would be particularly pertinent to history rather than education in general, I don’t know–except that we won’t be handing out tests, but rather hopefully moderating blogs and discussion forums, for example. So maybe the future of history isn’t less writing but rather less formal writing.
Source: Kirk Johnson