MOOC MOOC: Critical Pedagogy

  “To engage in dialogue is one of the simplest ways we can begin as teachers, scholars, and critical thinkers to cross boundaries, the barriers that may or may not be erected by race, gender, class, professional standing, and a host of other differences.” ~ bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress

Over the last year, we’ve watched the discussion of pedagogy in higher education shift. The MOOC crisis, the urgency to move toward the digital, the welfare of our contingent colleagues, and an imperative to confront directly issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality — both within the university and outside its walls — have us asking more and more critical questions about how we should teach, where we should teach, and why. The contents of our Twitter streams have made clear that we can’t go on talking about pedagogy as though business is usual. #Ferguson, rape culture, and the often inhuman conditions under which adjunct teachers work make clear that teaching can and must be politically aware, even socially active. Many of us live and work in situations that require what Paulo Freire would call “hopefulness” — but a hopefulness that demands and results in real action.

Teaching as action, pedagogy as praxis, a how-to for Critical Pedagogy begins, as hooks implies, with dialogue. In “Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Definition,” Jesse argues, “pedagogy, and particularly Critical Pedagogy, is work to which we must bring our full selves, and work to which every learner must come with full agency.”

On January 19, 2015, Hybrid Pedagogy will launch a fifth iteration of MOOC MOOC, its series of meta-MOOCs. We are calling this one MOOC MOOC: Critical Pedagogy, and as before we are aiming less at amassing registrants and more at building community. Over six weeks, we’ll engage directly with both the foundational texts behind Critical Pedagogy, and with modern thinkers whose work — by design or by coincidence — aligns with that approach. We will explore questions such as:

  • What is the practice and use of modern education?

  • Can or should teaching be a form of activism? And if so, how do we make it so?

  • How do we meaningfully approach issues of race, gender, sexuality, discrimination, power, and otherness in the classroom? How do we approach these issues outside of the classroom?

  • As scholars, what is our social responsibility?

  • How do we effectively make space in classrooms for voices other than our own? How do we really level the playing field across the curriculum?

MOOC MOOC: Critical Pedagogy, like its immediate predecessor MOOC MOOC: Dark Underbelly, leaves behind the traditional LMS-based “course” model of the MOOC, and will be left to roam wild, free, and grass-fed on the web. Once each week, we’ll hold a hashtag chat on Twitter using #MOOCMOOC. We’ll also hold a series of Google Hangouts On Air featuring guests from the field and from our community.

Unlike our previous MOOCs, this one will have homework. Or, more precisely, MOOC MOOC: Critical Pedagogy will be a massive open online book club. To engage the foundational ideas of Critical Pedagogy, we’ll read together chapters and essays from books such as Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, bell hooks’s Teaching to Transgress, Henry Giroux’s On Critical Pedagogy, and others. And, in keeping with our notion that “there are accidental pedagogues everywhere,” we also hope that participants will write and blog about the course in their own spaces to add primary texts to the dialogue.

The first reading, which we’ll open for discussion, will be from Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

MOOC MOOC: Critical Pedagogy is free to join, and open to anyone with an internet connection. For those who do not wish to join the chats on Twitter, we’ll work to curate blog entries and articles about the conversation, as well as a Youtube channel with archives of our Google Hangout discussions. We’ll publish a full schedule in early January, and the dialogue will start the week of January 19, 2015. If you want to get a head start on your homework, begin with Chapter Two of Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Registration is not required for MOOC MOOC: Critical Pedagogy. No personal data will be collected and everyone is welcome. However, if you’d like updates about the course, there are a few things you can do. First, follow @hybridped@moocmooc, and #moocmooc on Twitter. You can find the schedule for the MOOC here. And sign up for Hybrid Pedagogy’s e-mail list where we send updates about events (like MOOC MOOC) and digests of recently published articles.

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