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In an earlier blog, “Clearing Up Some Myths About MOOCs” ( ),  I promised to keep a log of time, expense, human resources, ideas, drafts, syllabi, books, articles, assignments, and other MOOC-y features, as they emerge, for the free, six-week course I’ll be offering in January 2014, “The History and Future of (Mostly Higher) Education:  How We Can Unlearn Our Old Patterns to Relearn for a Happier, More Productive, and Socially Engaged Future.”   There are no prerequisites, no prior educational experience is required.   The course is open to anyone anywhere who can gain access to enough bandwidth to participate.    #lifeUnlearning

I am very pleased, grateful, and honored that my publisher, Viking Penguin, has agreed to allow the first 50,000 registrants to this six-week Coursera course.   Once the course opens, there will be more details about how to download the PDF of the book:  Now You See It:  How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century

*   *   *   *

 As promised, here is what emerged from our first filming session, with @KaysiHolman on the video camera and the cue cards.  We planned for a few weeks, we changed location a few times before we decided to set up a “studio” in my office so that we wouldn’t have to put up and take down the lights and so forth every week, and we adopted a surprising methods:   I would think about ideas, write out notes with key words and a few dates and proper names and other things on four large poster boards, Kaysi would turn when I’d get to the end of my talking from a page, and then we’d go to the next.   The segments ranged from about 8 minutes to nearly 28 minutes—so that one we will break into two segments.

Next step is to type up more elaborated notes as “reader’s guides.”   And use post-produciton (that would be the amazing Kaysi again) to drop in url’s, book titles, proper names, some images.    We’ll then build out the assignment portions and flesh out and finish the bibliography below.

The planning for Week One easily took 70-80 hours of our combined time.  The shoot itself took about three hours (we are delighted by this; we thought it would take longer).   There will be only minor post-production editing since we purposely left in some mistakes–like the extreme “Dr Caligari’s Cabinet” lighting and shaky sound in the first segment.  We want the DIY element obvious since we’re pushing DIY learning–form,method, content, collaboration all need to go together to break the Doc on the Laptop tyrannies inherent in this model of MOOC.

I’m sure all of the following will be revised many times.   And please note that Field Notes to 21st Century Literacies, our main textbook, collaboratively peer written by my graduate students in Spring 2013, won’t be published for a few more weeks.   It’s terrific–super helpful.   I’ll let you know when it is available.  In the meantime, here we go, first run, first draft, Week One:  “The History and Future of (Mostly Higher) Education:  How We Can Unlearn Our Old Patterns to Relearn for a Happier, More Productive, and Socially Engaged Future.”    #lifeUnlearning


Segment One:   Overview:  Towards an Activist History:  Or, Why We Need to Understand the Past in Order to Have Perspective on How We Got Here and the Power To Get Where We Want to Go.

Addressing a Global, Multi-Generational Audience of Peer-Teachers, Co-Learners in Order to Turn Traditional, Elite,     Professor-Driven Top-Down Education (the method upon on which MOOCs rest) Into a DIY Collaborative Learning Community (as much as possible within the limits of the Coursera affordances):  Learning the Future Together.  Difference is our Operating System, Not Our Deficit.  #lifeUnlearning

Plus: Why a Peer-to-Peer Community Requires Generosity, Difference, and Civility:  Or, No Sympathy for the Trolls  


Segment Two:   From Cuneiform to the World Wide Web:  Four Information Ages and the Long History of TechnoDeterminism and “Presentist” Protests About Harm to “the Brain” (i.e. Going Back to Socrates!); Or, Why “New” Technology Makes Us Lose Our Marbles


Segment Three:   The Last Information Age:  How Steam-Powered Presses, Machine-Made Paper, and Machine-Made Ink in the post-Revolutionary Period (U.S.) Contributed to Literacy, Public Culture, the Popular Novel, Compulsory Public Education, and Freaked-Out Pundits (That means you, John Adams!)   Or, The Industrial Age Origins of Contemporary Higher Education


Segment Four:    April 22, 1993:  The Fourth Information Age in Human History.  Or, What Do We Need To Know In an Era Where It Has Become Possible for Anyone in the World with Access to an Internet Connection To Publish Ideas to Anyone Else in the World with Access to An Internet Connection ( . . . and What Does It Mean To Those Who Do Not Have Access)?  How Do We Need To Change (Mostly Higher) Education To Equip Ourselves for This World?

Segment Five:    21st Century Literacies:   Arming Ourselves for the Fourth Information Age (Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Copyright, Intellectual Property, Safety, Identity, Collaboration, “Crap Detection,” Community, Peer-to-Peer Interaction).   Connected Learning and the Values of Production/Making–Not Just Consuming/Taking


Segment Six:  Who’s Behind the Camera?  Or, Education Is Social, Technology is Social.  Whose Labor Makes Our Learning Possible?   People, Institutions, Structures (Often Unacknowledged).  Who Are Our (Sometimes Hidden) Teachers?  How Do They Support Us?  How Do We Recognize Who They Are?

Interview Questions:  Who Is Your Favorite Teacher and Why?  What Lessons Have They Passed on To You That Continue to Be Important in Your Everyday Life?

Interviews:  Bonita, Kaysi, Kristan



Cathy N. Davidson “Why Every Class Needs to Write a Constitution,” Chapter One, Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies

Barry Peddycord III and Elizabeth A. Pitts, “From Open Programming to Open Learning: The Cathedral, the Bazaar, and the Open Classroom,” Chapter Two, Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies

Patrick Thomas Morgan, “Practicing Web Wisdom: Mindfully Incorporating,” Chapter Three, Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies

******Cathy N. Davidson, Now You See It:  How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century (NB:  special thanks to Viking-Penguin publishers:  by arrangement with Viking-Penguin, 50,000 PDF copies of this book will be available to Courera registrants; for more information, see: )


(1)   WIKI assignment

Read the Mozilla Manifesto and its remix as “Duke21C Community Manifesto.”   On the collaboratively editable version, turn this set of community-based rules for a face-to-face peer class into rules for our online course. [Digital Literacy:  affordances [working within the limits of a tool and modding where you can], collaboration, community, civility,  authority.  Digital Tools:   Wiki, Creative Commons Licenses.

After the deadline for edits closes, we will use a Leaderboard and perhaps digital badges to celebrate the best additions and to honor those who have contributed most (there will be no negative scoring; only badging of the most generous participants.   Digital Tools:  Leaderboards, Digital Badges).

Nominate yourself to be an editor of the final document.   We will need three editors for copyediting, form, and adjudication of the final document/


(2)  TEXT and/or VIDEO assignment:

Answer the question:  “who was your favorite teacher and why?  what lessons about yourself, learning, or the world did you learn from them that you  carry with you today?”

Ask two others the same question

Post your own answer and the two interviews to our class Forum for this week or to the YouTube video channel.   [Digital Literacy:  privacy, intellectual property, identity, permission, translation.  No video can be posted unless you have secured permission; a downloadable permission form is available.  It requires discussing with your interviewee the forms and practices of online identity.  Will you use first and last names?  Is your interviewee a minor?  Will you use voice only or voice and face? If your interview is not in English, how will you translate for our English-language-based community?  Digital Tools: Video, Blog, Forums)


Yochai Benkler, “Coase’s Penguin”

The Wealth of Networks

Adam Smith,  The Wealth of Nations

Howard Rheingold, Net Smart  (MIT Press)

Cristiane Damasceno, et al, Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies:  A Guide to New Theories, Methods, and Practices for  Open Peer Teaching and Learning  EBOOK AVAILABLE FREE ON HASTAC.ORG

Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word:  The Rise of the Novel in America  (1986; Expanded Edition, 200?, Oxford University Press).

Reading in America:  Literature and Social History (3rd edition;  Johns Hopkins University, ???)

Now You See It:  How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century (NY:  Viking-Penguin, Cloth, 2011; Paperback 2012):     PDF AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD TO FIRST 50,000

The Future of Thinking:  Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, with David Theo Goldberg (Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 2010).  PDF AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD FROM MIT PRESS



Amanda Bannorris, The Female Land Pirate; or Awful, mysterious, and horrible disclosures of Amanda Bannorris, wife and accomplice of Richard Bannorris,: A leader in … known far and wide as the Murrell Men

William Hill Brown, The Power of Sympathy

Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette

Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple

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Cathy N. Davidson

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