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Paper about teaching online: jesters, tricksters and fools

My colleague and supervisor Hamish Macleod and I first presented this paper at the 3rd Ideas in Cyberspace Education symposium at Loch Lomond in Scotland in March 2007. It draws in part on our experiences with the MSc in E-learning at Edinburgh. We’ve since revised it and it’s currently being considered for publication in an ICE3 book.

The paper takes a jester’s, trickster’s and fool’s look at teaching in online spaces. We argue that teaching in digital environments is different and requires different attitudes and strategies than its offline counterpart. We use archetypal, literary and historical characters of the fool, jester and trickster as metaphors to explore issues of authority, risk, innocence, fun, complexity, liminality and absurdity.

The paper was great fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it as well! Comments are very welcome.

Structure, authority and other noncepts: teaching in fool-ish spaces (PDF)

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