This week my friend and fellow peace and nonviolence educator, Joshua Cooper, had an article we wrote together posted on the USIP website. The article describes how Joshua integrated the use of USIP’s online, self-paced course, Civil Resistance and the Dynamics of Nonviolent Conflict (which I helped design), into his work with indigenous Cambodian activists living along the border of Cambodia and Vietnam AND with students in his intro political science class at the University of Hawaii.
Over the past eight months, USIP’s Academy has launched 8 self-paced, online courses, registering more than 3,000 people in more than 134 countries. The work, however, is not solely a numbers game. Peacebuilders, activists and educators working in conflict zones must be able to take the knowledge, skills and perspectives that USIP offers online and adapt them for their own specific needs in the field. A case of young Khmer activists in Vietnam and Cambodia and another involving students in Hawaii interested in peacemaking illustrate the need.
This past weekend I gave a TEDx talk at American University. The theme of the event was “Exploring Our Global Future.” The title of my talk was, “Bridging the Distance: Teaching and Learning Peace Online.” In short, the talk laid out my reasons for believing in online learning as a valuable development in the field of education and how online learning can be infused with the values of peace and nonviolence. I also lay out in the talk what I have come to call, “The Seven Blossoms of Peace Education,” which is a pedagogical framework that any educators can apply to their work to integrate peace and nonviolence into their classrooms.
After about a year of development, USIP has released a self-study, online version of the course, Civil Resistance and the Dynamics of Nonviolent Conflict. I started working on this course with my colleagues at USIP and ICNC in 2012. Having recently joined USIP, full-time, I am very pleased that this was one of the first self-study onlie course USIP released. I look forward to seeing how learners engage with the course, what kind of impact it will have, and how we will continue to refine it and make it even better in the months and years to come.
I just completed a six week online course on gamification offered by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The course was hosted and delivered using the online learning platform, Coursera. I took this course for two main reasons. The first is that I am very interested in gamificiation, particularly as it relates to education and learning. The second is that I am also very interested in online learning and the various platforms that are popping up to provide such a learning experience (for free much of the time).
From April 23rd to June 5th, ICNC partnered with Rutgers University to deliver a 6 week online course on civil resistance and the dynamics of nonviolent conflict. I was the primary designer of the course, having structured it off a similar layout I used for the online course ICNC did with USIP the previous year. I was also a co-facilitator of the course with my colleague Maciej Bartkowski. There were 22 participants in the course from all over the world. The partnership was encouraged and supported by one of ICNC’s academic advisors, Dr. Kurt Shock, who is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Global Affairs.
Above is the intro video Nick Martin and I recorded and shared to kick off the first iteration of TC106 – New Technologies for Educational Practice. I had the pleasure of co-facilitating this course with Nick and, as is always the case when working with TechChange, it was a fun and exciting experience filled with all sorts of new learnings, many of which you can find by checking out the Storify board I curated throughout the course. There you will find more than you could ask for in terms of content, and get a general sense of the various themes that were covered each week. Continue reading to see the course description and its learning objectives.
For the past three weeks I was moderator and guest expert for the Tech Change online course, Global Innovations for Digital Organizing. The course explores how technological innovation has resulted in the development of new channels of communication which are democratizing access to and production of media. The impact on social dynamics is evident from the Obama campaign’s youth mobilization efforts to the ongoing uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa. The three-week online professional development certificate course evaluates case studies where new technologies have been used for activism and what factors and contexts are most influential on outcomes. It also provides participants with strategies for maximizing the impact of new media and train them in the effective use of analysis and message management tools. This was a fascinating experience that put me right in the middle of an innovative organization that is truly advancing both content related to technology and peacebuilding and the creative ways to engage people in learning experiences online. Continue reading to learn more…
I recently completed my participation in the online course, Learning to Teach Online, offered through Sheffield College in the UK. A friend of mine recommended that I take this course a couple years ago and I am glad that I finally found the time to actually do it. The course began in late February and finished in early July, which was a perfect time for me to delve into this field as I am in the process of designing an online course on nonviolence that I will then be facilitating in the fall.
I learned a tremendous amount about effective online teaching. Continue reading to see some of my key take-aways.
The spring 2011 semester at American University has begin and my dad and I continue to teach EDU285 – Education for International Development. This semester marks the fourth time we’ve taught this course and we are continuing to find new ways to make the class better – introducing appropriate amounts of content, incorporating a diverse set of activities and exercises, and utilizing new online tools to enhance student learning. This semester there are three main changes from previous semesters: (1) a Twitter feed (@AUedu285) to follow stories related to education and international development, (2) a website redesign, and (3) more guest speakers.