The New School News

The Latest MOOC Alternative? A DOCC.

Much of the latest news in higher education these days revolves around the introduction and credit transfer workings of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. The positives and negatives surrounding this newest initiative among campuses are many—some of which the education world will just begin to realize as the fall semester gets underway. The New School has not been quiet in this unfolding debate; however, (and in typical New School style), we’ve tweaked the concept to better suite our students and faculty.

Professor and Dean of Media Studies Anne Balsamo is taking inspiration from certain MOOC traits—like the open enrollment, video components, and credit options—while incorporating more democratic elements to the rest. It’s a DOCC, or a Distributed Open Collaborative Course, and part of its conception is to rethink the role of the professor, hierarchy in the system, how money comes to play, and more. The first course, “Feminism and Technology,” will be offered in 17 colleges this coming semester.

“A DOCC is different from a MOOC in that it doesn’t deliver a centralized singular syllabus to all the participants. Rather it organizes around a central topic,” said Balsamo in an article this week in Inside Higher Ed. “It recognizes that, based on deep feminist pedagogical commitments, expertise is distributed throughout all the participants in a learning activity, and does not just reside with one or two individuals.”

Featuring online lectures with scholars discussing issues related to feminism and technology, the course will also meet with 20-30 enrolled students at participating colleges to discuss a weekly theme. Thus, “Feminism and Technology” will not only be customized to each instructor based on geography, but also vary greatly.

Check out this week’s article in Inside Higher Ed to learn more about Balsamo’s new DOCC course.

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