Curating Web Content

The traditional textbook boiled bits of knowledge down into summaries of facts, definitions and theories. It presented those bits section by section, chapter by chapter. It presented one perspective, that of the textbook writer.

The textbook was a practical way to get the content of the world—things to be learned—into the classroom. E-textbooks often simply reproduce the old knowledge relations of the print textbook.

The Learning Module is a completely new pedagogical format.

• It curates the world, instead of summarizing the world.
• It takes learners to many sources, and directs them to explore many perspectives, so focusing on critical thinking rather than passive ingestion of knowledge.
• It prompts dialogues about of the world, instead of telling the world.
• It positions learners as knowledge producers (discoverers, synthesizers, knowledge makers), rather than knowledge consumers.

Today, all the content learners could ever need is available on the web:

  • Millions of instructional videos.
  • Info sources such as wikis and online encyclopedias.
  • Authentic knowledge sources, such as news media, blogs and video sources.
  • ...and all of these present many perspectives, requiring critical reading and interpretation.

Scholar’s Learning Modules are made by teachers and instructional designers, who select and curate suitable web content, and build activity sequences around these (class discussions in Community updates, peer-reviewed writing projects in Creator, and knowledge and information surveys).