Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Not All Online Courses Are MOOCs"

So concludes David Austin Walsh of the History News Network in his promotional piece for Matt Pinsker's new online course "Understanding Lincoln."  Here is a taste:

Take “Understanding Lincoln,” a new online course co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute Dickinson College. The course, led by Lincoln scholar Matthew Pinsker, will offer a hybrid approach – a smaller seminar section with a hundred-student enrollment cap, direct access to Professor Pinkser and Gilder Lehrman staff, and the opportunity to interact with other students in digital forums.

For-credit students will pay $450 and receive three graduate credits at Dickinson, which can be used as transfer credit at other institutions.

For those interested in enrichment, a free section featuring lectures and readings will also be available, along with a certificate of completion for those who finish the course.

Course registration is currently open, and closes on Friday, July 19 at 11:59 Eastern. “Understanding Lincoln will run from July 22 to November 19.

The class is primarily designed for K-12 educators to enhance their knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The Gilder Lehrman website emphasizes that the course will focus on teaching Lincoln “within the guidelines of the Common Core State Standards.”

Pinsker said that the course is the culmination of the House Divided project, an online effort to create resources for K-12 teachers on the Civil War era. He has partnered with Gilder Lehrman for several years on the initiative, and an online course was the next logical step.

A pilot course for a closed group last year met with great success. One participant wrote in a testimonial that the class “introduced me to scholarship...and links that will not only test me as a teacher, but will make me grow as an educator.”

A major component of the upcoming “Understanding Lincoln” class will be what Pinsker calls “class-sourcing.”
“The course won't just be about transmitting information to students,” he said. “It will be about students building something with teachers.”

Read more here.