In Surprise Endings: Social Science and Literature, the Duke class I team-teach with behavioral economist Dan Ariely, we explore the deepest aspects of human behavior, as learned in empirical social science experiments and as discussed by some of the greatest writers in the world. But we also explore this by having our students take the lead–it’s truly a learning adventure for all of us, where students learn new skills, new ways of looking at the world, new ideas, and new methods. A lot of these ideas go far beyond the “flipped classroom” model of learning on line and then using class time to discuss issues. Rather, the students themselves make public online content that everyone can learn from. They assign us all work to read, they blog and debate ideas about that work on the public website for the course: http://sites.duke.edu/english390-5_01_s2013/ They interview me and Dan on camera.
And then they spend the rest of the semester creating an engaging online unit about their topic, whether love or dishonest or social defaults or obedience and resistance.
At the end, we will reassemble a whole course, putting all the resources and materials together with the blog discussions, the formal interviews, and the course content. Next year, our PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge will add assessment metrics and we may even see about offering the course for credit.
And next year I hope to teach a MOOC on The Past and Future of Higher Education and this student-created MOOC will be the “text book” for the online MOOC.
What goes around comes around. You are what you teach, you are the people you reach: It’s what we call “connected learning.” It’s why I believe it helps everyone if we learn in public. Dan talks about the predictably irrational aspects of human nature, and hopes that, by recognizing our patterns, we will have what I call a “Now You See It!” moment which allows you to switch the paradigm, change the pattern, break the habit, change your course of action.
Here’s the great Duke News article by Eric Ferreri about “Surprise Endings”: http://today.duke.edu/2013/02/davidsonariely Plus the delightful video: Looking Into Love