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Teaching on Mars: Some Lessons Learned from an Earth-Bound Study into Community Open Online Courses (COOCs) as a Future Education Model Rooted in Social Justice

University Centre Blackburn College, Blackburn BB2 5ER, UK
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246893
Received: 8 October 2019 / Revised: 25 November 2019 / Accepted: 27 November 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
This paper begins with a playful contention that visions of future Martian colonies provide us not only with spaces for imagining extraplanetary activity. These futuristic considerations also offer us opportunity to reflect on education and technology in the here, planet Earth, and now. The focus of this research was the creation of a learning and teaching platform that was offered freely to anyone with the contention that ‘anyone can teach, anyone can learn’. The platform itself was created using Moodle, as an open-source technology, and WordPress. The focus was on creating a space in which any individual, or group, might create learning spaces for free to share with others, based on social justice and challenging often exclusive, marginalising institutional practice. The project began as a critical response to institutional Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) that promise widened access to knowledge, while rooted in conventional roles of where knowledge comes from and who teachers should be. The COOCs (Community Open Online Courses) project has now over 1500 registered course creators, and this paper discusses some of the key findings from an initial participatory action research process, involving twenty-five of the initial project users introduces some of the key findings from a research project. While decidedly earth-bound, the findings provide evidence of the benefits of widening who is involved in producing educational technology. The results suggest that widened access and greater awareness of power can help avoid continued inequality and marginalised knowledge as we look to a future that must include us all.
Keywords: technology-enhanced-learning; massive open online courses; community open online courses; pedagogy; critical pedagogy; Paulo Freire; informal education; higher education; gonzo pedagogy technology-enhanced-learning; massive open online courses; community open online courses; pedagogy; critical pedagogy; Paulo Freire; informal education; higher education; gonzo pedagogy
MDPI and ACS Style

Shukie, P. Teaching on Mars: Some Lessons Learned from an Earth-Bound Study into Community Open Online Courses (COOCs) as a Future Education Model Rooted in Social Justice. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6893.

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