Being a Director of Academic Technology, how can I not love the episode “The General”? This episode has everything: a crazy professor, an education fad, extreme B.F. Skinnerisms, a “Trust Me” sign, and crazy Old School Tie outfits complete with top hats and sunglasses worn indoors! I was really laughing as I have not seen this episode in years and the parallels between this and the xMOOC craze are positively priceless; both “Speed Learn” of The Prisoner and xMOOCs are mechanical, one-way dumps of information – education as a transfer of information; both relied on wild claims (“three years in three minutes,” “a hundred percent entry, a hundred percent pass,” and the xMOOC’s “ten college future”); both rely on watching a video and taking a test; both ignore interactivity and engagement, but I must say, the level of student support in The Village is a little better and the retention numbers would be the envy of any college.
I love the confabulation of The Village with schools. In the beginning when he follows the crowd who are chasing the professor, he is accosted by the usual Village goons – and the exchange is interesting because they ask No. 6 “Are you a student?” and he says “Who isn’t? Are you prefects?” The two goons are even dressed a little like school boys. His critique of Speed Learn is an attack on mass education of any kind that is just about content: he calls the produced students “rows of cabbages.” No. 12 also trips up No. 6 when he asks him a “what” question about a treaty and No. 6 answers with a “when” answer – in other words the “education” did prepare him to apply the knowledge, only to regurgitate the facts. I think this is a clue for him later on to ask the General “why?”
I love the Eton Old School Boy top hat with the Carnaby St. sunglasses. I think we may have found a new elearning uniform for Humboldt State! So in this episode we have yet another example of a 60s super computer that was seemingly killed by an imponderable question, but do you know what really kills computers in The Prisoner-Star Trek-Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea-etc? A freakin’ circuit breaker!! They were 89 cents back then!
- Columbia to Divest from Private Prison Industry (educationnews.org)
- Penn State to Offer First MOOC Entirely in Chinese (prweb.com)
- Attrition in MOOCs: Is It a Problem or an Advantage? (etcjournal.com)
- Are You New to Online Teaching? Try a MOOC. (onlinecolleges.net)